~200-slide MS PowerPoint 2000
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(is listed below. The financial planning software modules are on the right-side column)
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First answers to FAQs: For $100 you'll get everything listed here regarding the financial seminar. Everything is delivered as e-mail attachments (no downloading). There's no protection on any slide, so you're free to customize all you want. There's only sample script text on ~67 slides. The only financial seminar systems that are "blanket BD approved" are those where you can't change anything. So no, this is not "blanket BD approved." The seminar is not what needs to be approved - each slide needs to be approved. So if your BD say no to a slide, then that means "you messed it up." So just fix that one slide or delete it, and move on. When all of your slides are approved, then the whole financial seminar can be approved by your BD.
This software approval stuff was finally figured out in 2013 and put into English here. The bottom line, is that the words, "FINRA approved" is not even legal to use anymore. There's no such thing as a "FINRA approved seminar," so people just need to learn how all of this works since the NASD evolved into FINRA.
Topics: Financial Planning, Investment Management, and Retirement Planning
These are AKA "financial workshops"
This template marketing seminar is basically for you to get a jump-start on building your own custom investment seminar and/or one-on-one presentations.
Look at it this way: It's like buying a puzzle with all of the pieces (slides) in a box. So you'd put the pieces together any way you want to make your finished puzzle. You can change what the pieces look like, say, and how they fit together. Then if you're with a BD, submit for approval, and that's it.
From your BD compliance department's point of view, they're approving or disapproving of each individual slide, not the whole seminar. So if you did something (like add numbers) to a slide to make it not approve, then just fix it or delete it and move on.
It covers financial planning, all types of risk management (to show the need for insurance), retirement planning, investments, asset allocation, portfolio optimization, and more. It has scripts to help guide what to say for some slides.
Nothing is protected, so you can make any changes you want - hide, delete, edit, add new slides, insert clipart, animate graphics, add audio, etc.
PowerPoint Presentations are where you can use any laptop / notebook computer as the source of data for a magic slide projector to project what's on your monitor onto a big screen. Presentations are only limited by how much time and work you put into them.
You buy a magic projector, plug it into the notebook's external monitor port, sometimes you'll need to press a function key, and then it usually just works. If you're lucky, then your monitor will display the slide at the same time.
But these magic gadgets are not free, but they get cheaper all the time. Plus it takes some doing to remember how to navigate between the slides when you're "on the spot." Even the best presenters mess up when someone wants to go back because you're going too fast for their note-taking.
You basically push buttons on a remote, or keyboard, to move back and forth between slides. You talk about a slide, press next, talk about that one, etc. The point is to lead the audience through your dog & pony show, to the close, where you engage them as paying clients.
This works much better than the old transparency systems, where just the light bulb costs over $100, so hardly anyone uses them anymore. Even though these prices have come down, either way costs good money to project well onto a big screen (and then more to have loud stereo sound).
If you have a transparency projector, and want to keep doing that, you can buy blank slide transparencies from an office supply store, and most printers will allow you to feed them in and print from PowerPoint. So in most cases, you can easily turn this PowerPoint retirement seminar into an old-school transparency-based money seminar.
This investor seminar was used mostly in the 20th century in Seattle with a consistent Boeing and Microsoft audience. We always brought in about $500k - $1M in new managed money, which at an average of 1%, generated about $7,500 in annual fees. So it made a profit of a few grand the first year just about every time. Obviously, things have changed, but these basic marketing concepts remain the same.
It's been approved as-is by three Broker Dealers, so it should make it through yours because there's little-to-nothing that would raise an eyebrow. So the answer to the question, "Is it BD approved?" is that it was, but that's irrelevant. You'll need to add / delete / edit / organize / customize the slides to make it your own, then submit it for BD approval anyway.
This is just an inexpensive financial tool used to do a particular job. How well it works will depend on how well you use it.
If You Want to Conduct Financial Planning Seminars, You Basically Have Five Choices:
Before that, this is the best place to put a couple of other things you're probably thinking about right now. So you should know about the other two ways financial planners prospect and market, that won't work out near as well as hoped:
First, making your website: Everyone thinks their world is going to change when they finally get around to making their own fancy website. It won't. Count on it.
Here's why: This is a face-to-face biz. Nobody from another city, town, or state is going to stumble across your website and think, "Wow I need to hire this firm to manage my financial life, I'm going to call them right now!" Maybe one person annually will do something if they're within an hour's drive and they've already looked at all of the other local advisor websites.
Why? The most important reason is that the vast majority of people with money are OLD! So old that they don't even know what the FaceTubes are and it takes them a half an hour just to check their e-mail. These are "phone book people." Most of them wouldn't know how to properly construct a search string that will make your site come up if their life depended on it. They're just too old, so forget it; rich people in your local area are not going to find you online and magically just show up and give you money for free. This may happen once in your lifetime, if you're lucky.
If you want this kind of biz, then you'll need to spend a small fortune in local media and phone book ads. Even though it's the second decade of the 21st century, you're dealing with people whom are still operating in a world of stone knives and bear skins. These people are not going to learn new tricks; and most don't have iPhones, IPads or iGadget this and that. If they have a smart phone, then most can barely remember how to place a simple phone call (and still can't even remember how to take a picture). You're going to have to wait until 2020 for all of this magic online stuff to work like you envisioned.
Next, most of your local competition has already had their sites up for years - with professional videos of themselves.
Next, after making your site, if you're a BD Rep, you're going to have to get the site BD approved in all 50 states, and this all has to be "re-filed" ANNUALLY! If you're thinking this is going to be expensive, time-consuming, and annoying; then you are correct - and you'll have to waste resources on it annually too. Then after this is done, you'll find that most all of the cool things you wanted to say to get people to call you have been totally removed by FINRA and BD compliance.
Just take a look at everyone else's financial planning website. There's a good reason why they all look the same, all say the same thing, provide no useful information, and looks about as useful as a lame business card.
This is because this is all FINRA and your BD will let you say - "I'm a FINRA Rep working through this BD and we sell securities insured via SIPC and we specialize in offering financial planning, retirement, and investment management services. Here's a bio on our staff with contact info." That's it, that's usually all you can say, and it's mostly all useless blandness that nobody cares about (nor understands).
So the bottom line is that nobody is going to contact you when they see these couple of boring pages with little-to-no red meat on the Internet. Just ask people who already have all of this going for decades, and you'll see.
Next, when people looking for advisers search, they're searching for advisers within a convenient driving distance. They're definitely not going to hire someone out of state to do personal financial planning and/or investment management just because they saw a slick website.
There are also BD / FINRA rules about only being allowed to sell securities or insurance to people in the state you're licensed in. You have to be local or forget it. So they're only going to look at local sites. Because of the way search engines works, hardly anyone does "search engine optimization" correctly to get their site to come up in these narrow localized search results. Or if they do, it will be buried at #50 in the results.
Then again, people with money are so technologically-challenged that they have no clue how to do searches that will make your site show up. So both you and the surfer has to do everything perfect for your site to show up in the first place, and this rarely happens.
Then in general, search engines have "the game totally rigged," so even if your site ranks highly now, just wait until someone thinks you've had a free ride long enough, and now you should pay through the nose for the same thing.
Next, there's dozens of thousands of financial planner websites that will come up in the search results, even when the surfer does everything they can to limit the results only to a small geographical area. So even if your site is perfect, it will still be buried in the dozens of sites that should not have even displayed. Then you're hoping old people with limited attention spans will slog through all of that just to find you and only you. That's rarely going to happen too.
So hardly anyone that will actually do anything will be able to find you - maybe one small client per year.
Say you just did your brand new super cool website, it's all approved, you did everything "right" and now it's all up and perfect in every way - and is superior to all of the local competitors in terms of SEO, coolness, and content.
It will still take YEARS, if at all, for it to show up in the top 20 search results (90% of surfers don't get past the first 20 results in a search). Why? Because the Internet is a (rigged) game. First, a site has to be up long enough to have relevance history (links and traffic). So it may climb to the top ten in a few years, but even the most perfect site won't get to the top immediately. There's so many reasons for this that it would take another long page to explain it, but let's just say that even if you do everything perfectly, it's going to take years for it to "work." But even if ALL of the valid traffic in your local area went to your website, the amount of traffic is a million times less than it takes to get the Internet's attention. So even paying all they want to charge you won't help much.
So if now you're thinking that you can bypass all that by spending money on advertising in the local media - then think about what you're doing. Your paying for advertising so people can see you ad (your site is just an ad). You'd be better off paying for local press trying to get people to come your seminars directly, than advertising just to get people to look at your website.
So making your website will not do anything. It will not change your life other than the lost resources spent on it. Even if you spend a fortune on advertising it online, this money would get dozens of times more payback if you would have spent it on seminar marketing. If you want proof, just ask a local competitor how much biz they get from their website, and then you'll get it.
If you're not with a BD, and are only an RIA, then you're in control over your website, there will be little censoring of your content, and little-to-no approvals, registering in every state, nor having to resubmit annually, etc.
Next, "networking" with CPAs, attorneys, and other professionals: Most every new financial adviser thinks that if they partner up with a good local CPA and/or attorney, that they'll have it made forever. Nothing could be further from the truth.
We've seen the exact same thing play out in EVERY instance via hundreds of planners since the 80's. Here's exactly what will happen when you "network" with other professionals for leads:
The planner will start networking with CPAs and local attorneys in hopes that they will get a great lead-sharing deal. This is the deal where the financial planner recommends a CPA to do their taxes. This part works fine, for them.
But the CPAs and attorneys have known all about this since the beginning of time. About once per month, "new fresh meat" will call asking about this kind of relationship.
So the planner recommends the CPA, and the CPA profits hugely during the next tax season from all of this "free business."
But guess what? How many leads did the CPA (or attorney) provide? Zero, none, nada. They'll lead you on with every excuse in the book about how, "They're coming, I'm working on it, trying to find the ones that are the best fits, nobody I work with has enough money to interest you, etc., yada yada."
Guess what? They're not. They're just lying. They will never ever give you any leads. All they're going to do is suck leads out of you until you wise up and then stop. Then they'll move on to the new fresh meat full of new free leads, and you'll never hear from them again.
Maybe if you're lucky, they'll give you one lead per year. But most will never give you more than one lead per every hundred you give them. Why? Because to them, all you are is a huge lawsuit waiting to happen. Other than the free leads, you can't do anything for their practice but make things worse and cause trouble. There's little-to-no way you can make anything better for the CPA by servicing their tax clients (and lawyers know all too well about the trouble bad planners can cause).
Because of the nature of the business, you're either going to screw up and make them look bad for recommending you, you're going to quit the biz, do something stupid to their valued clients that trust them, or you're actually going to do something to make the CPA's client sue them for recommending you in the first place.
As you know, and as they know, the vast majority of planners operating in this mode of trying to network know just enough about money to be dangerous, so other than the free leads that come your way until you figure it out, you're not going to add anything of value to their practice. So forget it, they will not ever reciprocate by giving you the leads they promised. They're just lying to you to get your free leads for as long as they can string you along.
Experienced ones have the game down pat. They've been around this block several times already. They say they'll be happy to trade referrals, but never do. They probably even teach this in CPA school - "Just pretend to be with the program, take their leads, but don't give any to them, eventually they'll figure it out and stop giving you leads, then repeat with the new fresh meat that will call next month. What are they going to do? Nothing but maybe call you a bad name and use profanity. They can't sue you or do anything to get you into trouble over it, so why care? It's just Darwinism at its best, so just go with it."
Again, if you don't believe this, all you have to do is ask another planner what their experience has been with this, and they'll all tell you the exact same thing - "Yeah, he sounded like he was all for it and was very motivated at first. I gave him tons of leads, which he made a ton of money on, but I have yet to get a decent lead from him, and it's been a million years and a never-ending parade of excuses why. Remind me why I wasted resources on all of this again!?"
Here's the way to go if you're thinking about doing this: Give them one lead and say they'll get another when they furnish you with a lead of similar or greater value. Then when a million years goes by and nothing happens, you should be able to see where this relationship is headed. Just don't give any more leads and then either move on to the next one, or better yet, don't even waste resources on this, as it rarely works.
If you want to minimize wasting time on this game, then just tell them that this is what you're doing (giving out one lead at a time when they reciprocate). Once they realize that they won't be getting more than one lead, their jig is up, so they'll go into a different mode, and will just get rid of you on the spot.
Now back to your options when it comes to financial seminars. You can:
1) Buy from a large vendor like Emerald, or whomever is still doing that. These are great, but usually cost over $1,000 initially. Then they're going to ding you whenever you make changes and/or restock supplies.
You also can rarely modify anything to fit your way of doing business.
Some still use transparencies and haven't even moved to being computer-based yet. They say it's because you need to write on the transparency. You can do that with the newer computer systems too, so there isn't a good reason to use these obsolete systems anymore (which is why most seminar firms, like SMMS, were bought out by Emerald long ago). We have no idea what's going on now in this market because this is not a high-profit biz; so vendors come and go. So you'll need to call around to see who's doing what when you want to buy.
2) Buy from a smaller vendor. You can do this for under $1,000, but you won't be getting much more than what's in this investment seminar.
3) Hire professional speakers using their pre-existing systems. That's going to run you around $750 for each money seminar, on top of all of the regular seminar expenses.
Then they won't be saying what reflects the way you run your practice (unless you spend more to get them to modify their presentations). Then there's the problem of attendees wanting to meet them in your office, and you'll have to say they were just a rental. Also, some of their seminars are badly out of compliance, so if a spy shows up from your Broker Dealer or FINRA, which is very common, you'll be in big trouble for that.
4) Make your own financial seminar from scratch. With PowerPoint, it's fairly easy, but it's going to take at least 100 hours of research, thought, and tedious manual labor. So if you value your time at $100 per hour, then doing it this way will cost you $10,000.
Then you're going to have to battle compliance on all the things you want to say, but can't. Most of what you want to say will be both red flags, and not very interesting to attendees. Most advisers think boring economic data used to market time or pick stocks / ETFs is fascinating. News flash - it's not. If that's what people wanted to see, then they'd stay home and watch financial pornography on stock market TV. They came out to see you just to get away from all of that hype. What they want most is a "Real World education."
5) Buy this investment seminar and customize it to fit your practice. This is the only cost-effective way to get what you want to say across to groups of people.
You're still going to have to battle compliance, but this helps you stay on a path to make the battle easily won. This is because there's few-to-no slides with any numbers in them. It's mostly the past investment product and market rates of returns, tax numbers, and economic data that are the red flags. So we just don't go there at all, and so there's little-to-nothing to complain about. It's mostly all just generic concepts. So when you start putting products and/or numbers into slides, that's when you're going to start having problems. So just don't do that. When attendees start asking about numbers, just tell them they'll have to make an appointment to "get into that level of detail."
There are no "supplies" you'll to have to buy, just printer paper. The big vendors (used to) make their living from selling you hard copies of what we call "add-ons," and then say their copyright lawyer will get you if you copy / make your own. There's none of that here. Do your customizations and print all you want.
Also since it's PowerPoint, you can have an unlimited number of differing investing seminars saved and ready for use in an instant.
• Retirement defined
• Benefits of retiring (becoming financially independent)
• Drawbacks of being retired
• How your expenses may change when retired
• Options at retirement (if you won't have enough money)
• Pass out a Retirement Fact Finder to do a free mini-plan
• Investments: What they are. What is investing?
• The financial planning and investment pyramid
• Effects of taxes and inflation on investments
• 25 investment mistakes
• 25 investment essentials
• The three ways to manage money (asset allocation, security selection, and market timing)
• Market timing introduced - advantages and disadvantages
• Security selection introduced (stock / ETF picking and/or trading) - advantages and disadvantages
• Asset allocation introduced - advantages and disadvantages
• Four ways to perform asset allocation
• The factors that go into determining a personal asset allocation mix
• Portfolio optimization (lots of neat images to get the point across). These were made before we realized optimizers are more trouble than they're worth
• What financial planning is in a nutshell
• Financial quarterbacking
• The Money Game: What it is and the tools needed to play and win
• All of the different types of risks in detail
• The average American's lifeline
• The three phases of estate planning
• Seminar survey form (how'd we do?)
Here's more marketing slides that are geared toward the very last segment, and/or one-on-one sales presentations:
• Why you and your firm?
• Mission statement
• Promises and commitments on both sides
• What you do and how you do it
• What's in it for both you and them?
• What they need to do now to move forward
It also comes with ~125 miscellaneous slides not in any order. So it's an ala carte of slides you can use to customize your own investor seminar.
Additional Money Tools Included with the Financial Seminar (add-ons)
• A sample ad is used to get suspects to call to attend. You put ads in the local newspapers, and if you're working a corporate market, then you'd paste them on coffee makers and bulletin boards.
• Sign-in and attendance sheet.
• Attendee booklet to follow along, take notes in, and take home (so they'll remember what they've learned). This is only a blank skeleton template, so you'll have to fill it up yourself once you've customized your seminar. You just copy, paste, then print the slides attendees will be taking notes on.
• A simple "how'd we do?" evaluation form.
• For doing corporate financial seminars: It comes with a scaled-down investment risk-tolerance category finder for determining which of the three most-commonly-used risk tolerance categories they fall into (Conservative, Moderate, and Aggressive). This is so you can use Model 401(k) Portfolios to give attendees free advice on how to allocate their 401(k) plans, right on the spot, in the seminar.
• Scaled-down Retirement Planning Fact Finder. This is one of the many marketing ideas we've tried that actually makes money. You basically talk about the retirement planning software you use, then say if they fill out and return it, they'll get a free mini-retirement plan. This takes about ten minutes to prepare, including printing, and probably has more value than most retirement plans they've paid for in the past.
Using the Marketing Seminar to Reach a Financial Planner's Goals
Some of the objectives in conducting a marketing seminar to attract new financial planning prospects are to:
• Display your competence to build trust in the firm and the financial planners.
• Bring in qualified prospects without having to use the phone (which you can't even do anymore because of the Do Not Call List laws), or being a slave to a never-ending parade of expensive weekly mass mailings (to the same people over and over), hoping you tease enough people to get them to call you to get their "free financial planning consultations."
• Give just enough information to disturb attendees into realizing they have unresolved problems. Then let them know you're THE expert that can fix them all. But don't give them so much information that they won't need to engage your services. Just tease them enough to motivate setting in-person appointments.
• Be a local force of nature in your community so people, "won't keep you a secret." All it takes is for your seminar to have enough red meat to make it worth their time, and you will be talked about. Remember that in corporate seminars, you're going to be talked about with other suspects at the "water cooler" that may come to your next seminar (or just call you).
• Plant as many seeds as you can all over and hope some will grow into money trees over time. In case you didn't' know, this is a very long-term business.
• What you want is to build relationships long enough so when they retire, they'll roll their 401k over to you (the average size is probably still around $500k).
• Doing financial seminars for the mass public isn't the preferred way to market your financial services. It works, but the bang for the buck is much smaller than working the corporate market.
So a main goal is to find, service, and maintain a profitable "captive audience." This is done in cities with "large" corporations by getting plugged into their employee benefit system, via their Human Resources Department (HR).
You just become an expert on their benefit plans, then hound HR until you can prove your free seminar would be of more interest to their employees than the flock of planners that's been doing it there forever. One way to do that is to be allowed to attend as a spy, and learn how to do it all better than them.
If you're keeping up with company benefit plans, every time there's a confusing change will be an opportunity to conduct a new money seminar to explain it. HR will be chomping at the bit to get employees out of their hair if they can just say, "This will all be explained in the upcoming benefits seminar, so go away, quit bugging me, and get back to work." So as you can guess, all you really need to do is get in good with your local area's major corporation(s), and your practice could be set for life.
• Once you've landed a good corporate gig like this, then the door is open to do more intensive seminars for key employees. You do this by becoming THE expert on all of their deferred comp plans, Cadillac health insurance plans, and whatever other goodies only top management receives. Use Willie Sutton's method of getting rich by always thinking, "That's where the money is."
Doing financial plan seminars for the worker bees is just a way to prime the pump when you're green. The real gold is kept locked up in the vault. So you want to work your way up to servicing those with the keys, if you can. But it's not easy as it's all well locked up.
So you're going to have to consistently get an "A" servicing the worker bees, then do all of the homework needed to become an expert on their big-wig benefit plans, then redo your money seminar over, get it approved again, become well-rehearsed again; and then you'll probably have to do a free seminar for HR to prove you won't waste top management's time, and THEN they just may give you a shot - If you're worthy. Stranger things have happened, fortune favors the bold, you'll never know until you try, and all of that.
• Gather referrals (both human and corporations).
How-to Basics of Financial Marketing Seminars
If you've never done financial planning marketing seminars before, then here's the deal in a nutshell for the mass public market:
First, you'll have to finalize your money seminar and all of the add-ons you'll be using. Then you'll need to get it approved by your Broker Dealer's compliance department. If you don't screw up by inserting "numbers," then it should fly through without having to be sent to FINRA (which costs big money and could take months).
Next, research where and when you want to have it. This entails calling local hotels and similar places that cater these types of events. They do this all the time, want and compete for this business, and will typically offer two prices - one with food and one without.
Ensure that there will be no other event booked for the room for at least two hours after you estimate you'll be totally done. The most profitable part of the seminar is when people with money want to keep asking questions long after everything is packed up and ready to go. What you want is a pack of fans following you all the way out to the car (this does happen, and is a good thing). If you're booted out early so the next event can set up, then all that's just gone.
Once you have the time and place confirmed, place ads in local newspapers. This investing seminar comes with a sample ad that may look too simple, but it works (KISS: Keep It Simple Stupid).
You can also send thousands of letters from mailing lists. There's no easy way to do any of this, and it varies greatly with the size and type of your city.
For corporate seminars, hang them on bulletin boards, coffee makers, send e-mails, etc. HR will tell you what you can and cannot do. They know the drill because you're just a new float in the non-stop parade that's been marching through since the beginning of time.
Ads should run no sooner than two weeks before the retirement seminar and no longer than a month. Too soon and people will flake because of schedule interruptions, and too late, they'll forget. Try not to have your investing seminar when major events are happening, like elections, summer vacations, Super Bowl, year-end holidays, corporate retreats, etc.
Once you do all that, you'll get calls of interest when people see your ad. Then you'll have to collect and organize their contact information somehow - hopefully you'll already have CRM software so you won't have to do it all on paper.
Then you'll have to call them all back the day before the investment seminar to confirm. Some planners call both the day before and then a few hours before on the same day of the investor seminar. If you don't confirm, then they won't come, it's as simple as that.
Most big cities have services that will do mass mailings, calls, and other mundane seminar-prep work for you. To find them in your local area, just do a search using keywords like this: (your city, state "seminar marketing" mailing lists direct marketing mass mailing). Some are very good, do it full-time, and will do most everything for you, for the proverbial "small fee" of course (you'll see there's been a whole industry that's been doing all of this daily forever).
You'll need to take control of the room as soon as you can to set everything up, test everything out, do a sound check, set the temperature to cool (over 70° and attendees will be sleeping through it), open windows to let fresh air in, make sure nothing will go wrong, etc.
Then when attendees show up, get their contact Information again with a sign-in list (check them off using the call-in contact list you made earlier).
Don't be shy! Meet and greet as much as you can. Your job here is to be happy and "make friends with everyone."
Then use the contact list to make a map of the room, so you'll know who is sitting where. This is so you can take notes as to who asked good questions, who was annoying, and who may make the best prospects (who has money).
Then perform the investment seminar.
If you have stage-fright, then obviously you'll need to rehearse or do whatever it takes to get rid of that before you invest the big bucks! Some keep their family and/or coworkers as a captive audience to work out these bugs. You'll need to do something to rehearse, as just throwing some slides together and winging it on the first try will not work. Make video recordings of yourself to do a self-audit. Always remember, "Spectacular accomplishment is always preceded by unspectacular preparation."
Schedule enough time for questions and answers at the end. If you can answer investment portfolio management questions well, then this will be the most profitable part of the whole investing seminar.
As you can see by the amount of slides, this is going to take a long time. Nobody is going to want to sit for more than an hour at a time (so have a break with snacks every hour at least).
We broke the investing seminars down into two parts - retirement planning and then investing. Then we always did these two money seminars on two different days. Each investor seminar was two-hours long divided into two sections, making for one ten-minute break.
The day after the end of the last session, send a "thank you for coming letter" to attendees that look like good potential clients. You'll know because of the questions they asked, talking with them before, during breaks, at the closing Q&A, and when it's over. Of course, the retirement fact finder will be the main tool for determining this, as explained below.
Then call them, if they say it's okay, or you'll be stuck hoping they'll call you (very few do - that's your job). In corporate financial seminars, planners usually ask on the evaluation form, "Is it okay if we call you to set up an in-office appointment?" The point here is if you just start calling everyone with a phone number, they're going to whine to HR, which will just get you fired. But when you're dealing with the mass public, then it's the wild wild west, so call call call.
If you're any good at all of this, then about half of those that come into your office will probably turn into clients of some kind. So as you can see, this is all a probability numbers game. Your success ratio will depend on two things - how well you did all of your jobs, and the level of fear and/or optimism about the local economy and general market and investing conditions.
There's no magic bullet that will make this all happen for you - like everything else, it takes hard work, time, trial and error, money, and just dumb luck.
Again, this is just a money tool. How well it works for you depends on how good you are at putting all of the pieces together to make it all one seem-less show.
Financial Marketing Seminars: Details Explained
Some financial planners find they can actually charge small fees to prospects to attend their financial planner seminars, if and when they can provide something of actual value, as explained below.
But the whole point of the retirement seminar should be to get living prospects to come into your office so you can sell them on what you actually do in your financial planning practice.
One of the main points is to provide free "teasers" in the investment seminar that provide actual value, so they'll think seeing you in person (and giving you money) will provide even more value. Browse our free money tools download pages for more ideas (that you can use by pasting right into PowerPoint).
The main freebies in this system of value are Allocating their 401(k) in class and giving a free quick-and-dirty retirement / mini-financial plan. Then calling and saying, "Your free mini-retirement plan is ready, c'mon in and get it!." This has always worked great (especially when compared with everything else).
About Allocating 401(k)s during the Financial Seminar
The big gold nugget you can give to attendees in a corporate money seminar is free retirement planning advice. This is the magnet that's going to draw them in, so you'll need to say that in your ads.
Most all attendees just want to know the correct answer to one simple thing, "How in the world do I safely get out of this working like a dog for a living bleep ASAP before I die?"
You can hit the nail on the head by giving them exactly what they need right there in the seminar - a free "optimized" 401(k) model that will both reduce risk and get good returns, given the limited and terrible options they're stuck with.
You can try to get them to come into your office to get their free 401(k) asset allocation, but we found so few do this, that it was a failed marketing idea. Basically, attendees feel they're smart enough to asset allocate their 401(k)s themselves or with online tools, they have an ego about all that, they feel it's not that important, they want to keep everything secret out of generic fear, then they're just going to space it out because they have short attention spans.
So charging for this, and/or making them come into the office to get it, won't work. We've tried it and the only thing it's good for is doing it on the spot to help make attending your retirement planning seminar worth their time.
Basically if you don't give attendees anything of value, they won't stay, nor show up for the other sessions. If you're working a corporation, they won't invite you back because they'll tell HR you were lame, and next time they'll have your competitors do it because they taught something of value last time.
You'll win these battles because your competitors WILL NOT have model allocations made from their 401k ready to go, of that you can be 99% sure. So you'll need to create these 401(k) investing models before you do the seminar, so that all you'll need to do is follow the slides on how to use the simplified Investment Risk Tolerance Calculator (the "real" one is here).
Here's how: You passed out the fact finder earlier and have already explained how to do it via the slides. You don't want to have attendees reveal their investment risk tolerance to others, so don't say things like, "Raise your hand if you scored Moderate."
So you wait until everyone is done, then walk over to them, look at their bottom line, then just give them the one page of the 401k Model that fits their risk tolerance. Then you use the slides again to talk about how to shuffle their options around to match their 401(k) Model. This leads into questions of what to do with future contributions, which leads into the need to account for all of their other assets too, which leads into rebalancing, which leads to the need to pay you (the great circle of life).
You can also make money on this later by telling attendees the investment options always change, allocation mixes may change due to "market environments," options go bad and they'll need to move to others every so often, and they'll need to rebalance the allocation quarterly. If you gloss over all of this just fast enough to both give good information and confuse them at the same time, then they may be ripe for coming into the office to handle this later, especially if you call them at the right times - like whenever there's a change in the 401(k) / or any of the investment options. The goal of all of this is just to get warm bodies to sit in your office so you can pitch your deals in person.
This is a good place to point out that you always want to be helpful to HR when it comes to "constructive criticism" about their 401(k) plans. If you can provide free help without just saying something nebulous as "your plan stinks," (which most all do), then you may be the driving force in getting them to move to a better plan. If so, then YOU will be EVERYONE'S HERO for all time. Just this one thing can end your days of being in prospecting mode forever. This should be your goal. If you didn't know it, your BD more than likely allows you to actually sell 401k plans. So if you do land one of these elephants, then you're set for life.
If you don't know what any of this is about, the Asset Allocation Models are explained here, the 401(k) Models are explained here, and if you don't know how, you can hire us to make the 401(k) Asset Allocation Models for you just by giving us the firm's option list, and some money. Most of the time, there's sufficient data to make good 401k models for under $100.
Planners that study and keep up with the firm's benefit plans do much better than those that don't, because if you can speak the same language, employees will feel comfy enough to let you do paying work (and give referrals). Investors' guards drop when you're perceived as being "one of the family."
Also if you call whenever there's a change in the plan, then you'll have a good shot at getting them to come into the office. So you'll want to review their 401k website at least weekly to look for ANY changes of interest (ask HR to give you a password so you can log into their 401(k) website for free).
About Using the Retirement Fact Finder and Offering Free Mini-Plans
The beauty of this financial tool is you'll know how much money they have to work with. This is the pressing question you'll always have when doing investor seminars - which ones are losing deals and which ones are winners? This is the best way to find out without having to pry it out of them verbally.
If you have the RP retirement planner, then use that to do this work. It's quicker and easier, but you'll have to delete the tax rate question on the seminar retirement fact finder. Then tell them everything in the plan neglects taxes, so everything is gross. Then tell them in order to get a real retirement plan, made with RWR that accounts for taxes and everything else in great detail, they'll have to hire you, come into the office to fill out the real retirement fact finder, or whatever it is you want them to do to engage in a paying mode.
We removed most of the RWR slides that were here. So you basically get whatever retirement software you'll be using up on your monitor, with a basic sample case loaded, press Print Screen, then paste that image into a slide. Our Dual RWR works best here, because you can easily show a Before version running out of money, and an After version, not. Then you can walk attendees through what their free retirement report will have in it. This '"test drive" is what motivates them to fill out the retirement fact finder, with a list of their investable assets, of course. When done right, this has most always worked out well.
About half the attendees actually fill it out and return it, either at the seminar or they'll mail it to your office later. Then most of them will come into your office to get their free financial plan. They'll know if they come in, they'll have to endure your sales pitch, so some try to weasel out by making up excuses to get it mailed to them. Just always say no to all that!
Explain the basic concepts of capitalism to them, they've heard most of it already in the marketing seminar, and just say that the cost of getting your free retirement plan is coming into the office to hear the rest of the pitch. Most will. If they don't, then you've just successfully screened a time-wasting prospect out of your life, which is very valuable in itself. In a corporate setting, you may be stuck mailing these to attendees, just to keep HR happy with you.
What to do about the attendees that fill it out, with no assets, and now want their free retirement plan: Even though you know they have no assets now, don't neglect them. Again, in a corporate setting, you may be stuck at a minimum mailing these to attendees, just to keep HR happy. Always keep in mind that they're going to talk about you with their co-workers, friends and family - all of which may have real money.
So when you see this, just go into referral gathering mode if you're stuck with an in-office appointment (if you can't get them out of your hair via mailing the plan to them). Do your thing as if they had money, then be a broken record about referrals. Successful planners actually say things like this, "Well we normally don't spend quality time with people without much to work with today, but we'll do our thing for you if you introduce us to a few people that may benefit from our services." Then just shut up and stare at them until you get an answer. Obviously you'll have to soft-peddle this in a corporate setting, but if they're not an attendee from a valued corporation (that will whine to HR), then ba bye.
Financial Seminar Summary
All of this long-winded rant just boils down to this one simple concept: After making the initial money seminar investment, are you willing to spend another ten minutes preparing a mini-retirement plan, then taking the time to explain it, then telling all about what you do to someone you know very little about, or not?
If not, then marketing seminars are probably not for you. Actually if not, then the financial planning and/or money management business is probably not for you. This whole business is all about risking time / money / work on things that may or may not be profitable. Those that make it have found things that work, and have stuck to it, and those that don't usually fail because they didn't stop doing things that didn't work before their clock ran out. This is NOT a business for the weak! Running any kind of a practice as a self-employed entrepreneur is all about TAKING RISKS. No risk, no reward, back to day job ya go (if you can).
If you think doing another ten minutes of work is a risk you can accept, then with this investing seminar system you're going to have a way of building your client base that's effective and doesn't just waste tons of time, work, or money.
If you don't do the free mini-plan teaser, and you don't offer anything else of value (like convincing them you're a super-star money manager), then most seminar attendees will have little reason to come into your office. They got their free education and that's probably the last you'll hear from them. If they don't come in, then your efforts were for naught. Telling them about all of the cool features of your brand new high-tech variable annuity will definitely not work!
Financial planning marketing seminars are the most popular way for new planners, without an economical source of leads, to get good prospects into their office to hear the rest of their "Dog & Pony Show", and ultimately to get them to do some kind of business.
There's no cheap or easy way to do anything in the financial planning business. Whether you want to charge admission to come, is up to you, but most people do it for free, and at great expense, in hopes of getting the elusive first appointments with attendees that may end up being great long-term profitable clients (and then give great referrals).
Seminars work because it sets up an informal atmosphere that allows attendees to learn about, then discuss their concerns in a non-threatening environment where people aren't going to try to sell them anything (this is done mostly in the Q&A session after you're done speaking).
In case you didn't know, you should never ever pitch any product sales in your financial seminar. People will actually get up and walk out as soon as they think you're trying to sell them anything - especially annuities or life insurance.
So financial planning seminars are very attractive for prospects to learn from an actual local advisor, because some know better than to do anything based on what's on TV or in the media. So it attracts people that are seeking Real World answers to specific questions, and that have actual financial services needs NOW that your practice can profit from.
But it also attracts losers, so if you use free meals to get people to come in, then you're probably just going to end up feeding poor people. A few will become clients, but the money you'll make from them will rarely make up for feeding everyone else. Some people can make this work, but most can't. So we recommend not providing free meals. But small snacks and beverages at break time are always a must.
If you already have a book of business, then you can invite existing clients, in addition to new prospects, and maybe charge them just enough to cover the costs of the room and your other expenses. Some do it at no charge, and call it a "Client Appreciation Party." They do it like this in hopes their clients will bring friends and family, and let them manage more of their money. You definitely want to cater this with great food and drink. This usually only works well when the markets are rallying, and investors are investing ('97 - '99), or when there's a crash and everyone is scared to death ('08 - '10).
Good investment seminar systems will usually pay for themselves, but only if you're strong enough to get with the program. This will allow you to hire an assistant, buy needed office supplies / computers / software, redo your office, etc. It may take a few tries to get it down though, which could set you back a significant amount of time and money.
If you're just starting out, and have no other source of leads, then investment seminars are the quickest and best way to build your book up to a point where you can stop prospecting and just service good clients (everyone's goal).
When you think about it, there isn't much else you can do these days except send out millions of mailers and cold call - and the Do Not Call List will get you if you don't watch out. If you know of a magic prospecting method that works better, then please let us know, and we'll give you free financial software.
To download the demo, right click on the link below, and then choose "Save (Target) As..." to save to your hard drive. Then find it and open with Word.
Download the Word docx screen print of the slides. There are only the original 68 slides, and they're intentionally fuzzy to help preserve content. Increase your Zoom magnification number to see it better.
Answers to FAQs:
For $100 you'll get everything listed here regarding the financial seminar. Everything is delivered as e-mail attachments (no downloading). There's no protection on any slide, so you're free to customize all you want. There's only sample script text on ~67 slides. The only financial seminar systems that are "blanket BD approved" are those where you can't change anything. So no, this is not "blanket BD approved." The seminar is not what needs to be approved - each slide needs to be approved. So if your BD say no to a slide, then that means "you messed it up." So just fix that one slide or delete it, and move on. When all of your slides are approved, then the whole financial seminar can be approved by your BD.
This software approval stuff was finally figured out in 2013 and put into English here. The bottom line, is that the words, "FINRA approved" is not even legal to use anymore. There's no such thing as a "FINRA approved seminar," so people just need to learn how all of this works since the NASD evolved into FINRA.
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