Hosting a free seminar is a great way to physically introduce yourself to a portion of your market while selling your product/service. It really isn't that difficult or expensive to host your own seminar, especially if you are co-hosting an event with a second act.
I utilize a friend of mine who is an accountant in the interest of splitting the cost, and creating a 2-act show for the South Jersey small business owners in attendance. I always put my marketing demonstration second because James is a little dry, while my marketing lectures build excitement and drip drama.
Before you host your own seminar on a topic of your choosing, you need to ask yourself 2 questions:
1) Can you inform and hold the attention of an audience of 200 people for 45 minutes, and
2) Are you a good salesperson who can close a sale?
If you are lacking #2, I'd suggest you lend the assistance of a seasoned selling professional. Here are a few tips on how to host your own seminar while maximizing sales at the conclusion:
- Spend some money to advertise your seminar. I like sending out small flyer's along with some dramatic pictures of seminars and workshops I have done in the past. Also it is a good idea to use the newspaper and email. By newspaper I mean send out press releases and let the media write an article on your event for free.
- Ensure you have a sign-in sheet for your attendees that will record important information you will need for later, such as: name, email and phone number. Don't forget that even if people don't buy from you now, they stand a good chance of buying from you in the future.
- After your lecture your audience should be enamored and elated at what a great investment that have made with their time. Ensure that you have several tables set-up afterwords so people can physically meet you and pick your brain a little more in the interest of furthering your credibility and authorship.
- Have a least 2-3 tables set up on the audience's way toward the exit. This way you and your sales team will have the opportunity to sell your good/service right there. For example, if you wrote a book, you can have these all set up and ready to be shipped out.
- Make sure you offer people the opportunity to come to a paid seminar in the future. Your free seminar should teach them about steps, moves and posture; your paid seminar should teach them how to dance.
- Have fun! Seminars are a great opportunity to let your personality fly in the interest of handing off some valuable information. Even though you are giving away this service for free, people put great stock in their time and do not want it wasted. Be prepared to give away big ideas and guarded secrets, after all, 200 people just witnessed where exactly a great idea just came from.
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