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Seminars—Product or Concept

You have two basic choices when giving a seminar—it can be focused around product or concept. At the risk of oversimplifying, product seminars work best with a lower-end audience and concept seminars work best with a high-end audience. I will arbitrarily define lower-end as people with investment portfolios less than $200,000 and higher-end as those with more than $200,000. To be even more simplistic, we can label these two groups inexperienced and experienced. Let’s look at some examples.

If you want to sell annuities, you can successfully use seminar marketing to a lower end audience who will make investments in the $10,000 to $40,000 range. These people have a product orientation, are not looking for an “advisor” and just want a “good investment.” To such a group, you can talk at them for 90 minutes about product features and explain simple concepts like tax deferral, risk vs. reward and compounding.

So if you are looking to make product sales, this approach will work.

If you are seeking to develop a high-end audience who puts money under management, is willing to pay you a fee and is looking to bond with an advisor, you cannot give product seminars. Such prospects will leave the seminar with little or no respect for you because in most cases:

  • They already understand the basic features of many investments
  • They do not want to be sold a product
  • They understand basic concepts such as tax deferral and will feel talked-down to

To this group, you must present a concept seminar, ideas such as asset allocation, estate planning, providing for grandchildren, six ways to reduce income taxes, socially conscious investing, using debt to create wealth, ways to dispose of real estate without tax, etc. All of these concepts can lead into lucrative relationships where you may indeed sell product or services. But the product will be the tool to implement the concept. The product must be the subsidiary conversation after the prospect buys into the concept.

If your seminar results have not been as expected, are you delivering the right message to the wrong market?

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© 2008 Financial keynote speaker—Larry Klein