Audience interaction keeps your presentations interesting and lively. This is especially true for living trust seminars. You never want to be the only one doing ali the talking.
Yet this story pushes things to an extreme when a man had a heart attack during a lecture on heart disease. Thankfully the story has a happy ending.
LEWISTON — Dr. William Phillips figured he was being kidded when a lecture on coronary heart disease was interrupted by a man complaining of chest pain.
A moment later, the cardiologist and nearby nurses saved the man’s life.
“I can’t tell you how I was hoping that guy was going to open his eyes, because, I thought, nothing could be worse if he dies right here,” Phillips said Tuesday.
As Phillips and the nurses began CPR, more than 100 people, many with histories of heart problems, watched.
“What I’m hoping is that they got the lesson about calling 911,” he said. “They got to see firsthand the importance of immediate response.”
The lecture had begun in the usual way.
Folks gathered Monday evening in a conference room at 12 High St. beside Central Maine Medical Center. The topic was a comparison of bypass surgery versus stenting for heart patients.
“We were talking about angina and this man raised his hand and said, ‘I’m having it right now,'” Phillips said. “I said, ‘Are you kidding?’
“And he said, ‘No.'”
That’s when Phillips got serious.
“I said to one of the nurses, ‘Could you get a wheelchair and take him over to the emergency room?'” Phillips said.
There wasn’t time, though. The man collapsed and Phillips ran to his side.
“In the meantime, he had completely arrested,” the doctor said. “He had no pulse. He wasn’t breathing. We started CPR and everybody’s standing around.”
Three cardiac rehab nurses — Brenda Robitaille, Nicola Adams and Heidi Langois — were there, too.
“It wasn’t just me,” Phillips said. “If I had been alone, it would have been terrible.”
One of the nurses brought in an automated external defibrillator, a portable electronic device that diagnoses a sudden, life-threatening heart problem and shocks the heart back into rhythm.
“The AED saved his life,” Phillips said.
“Then, (paramedics) came in the door,” he said. “They started an IV. They gave him an EKG and took the patient over to the emergency room.”
Later, Phillips checked in on the man.
“I went over to the emergency room, and he was sitting up in the bed, talking with his wife and waiting for test results,” the doctor said. Central Maine Medical Center declined to identify the patient, citing confidentiality laws.
But before Phillips checked on the man, he had a lecture to finish.
“After we had taken a breather, everybody wanted to continue on with the talk,” he said. “It was a pretty impressive event. I think the people there will remember the lecture for that.”
Phillips hopes the attendees will remember the importance of rapid response to heart problems.
You may not save someone’s life during one of your presentations. So you won’t make the national news like this story. Yet you can help save family’s financial lives with a timely and informative community seminar.
Should you tell jokes during your marketing seminars? This can be a risky venture. You want to be LIKED and TRUSTED by your seminar attendees so they will take the leap and schedule a first meeting.
If your jokes aren’t funny you risk being liked. If your jokes are deemed offensive, you definitely won’t be liked. You might ask, “How hard can it be to come up with some funny jokes about retirement planning, living trusts, or wills and joint tenancy?”
“I love money. I love everything about it. I bought some pretty good stuff. Got me a $300 pair of socks. Got a fur sink. An electric dog polisher. A gasoline powered turtleneck sweater. And, of course, I bought some dumb stuff, too.” — Steve Martin
I spoke today about telling jokes with a member of one of my local networking groups. Irv sells Aflac insurance policies and once took a stand-up comedy course in Southern California. He said that you need to write 100 jokes to get 10 worth trying out. Out of the 10 jokes you might get 1 which would be worth repeating. That’s one in a hundred.
Irv told me that comedians usually tell 3 jokes per minute. So a 5-minute comedy routine would include 15 jokes from 1500 jokes written up! Now you know why comedians like Jay Leno and David Letterman have a team of joke writers to come up with enough funny jokes for each night’s monologue.
Irv told me in the old days, a vaudeville comedian could come up with 20 funny jokes. These jokes would work for decades as the vaudeville troupe traveled from town to town. Not any more in these days of YouTube and Facebook. Funny comedy routines go viral and are everywhere.
Thankfully, your seminars won’t be recorded and your audiences will be different every time. You won’t need fresh jokes for every seminar. Find ones which work and use them over and over again.
I know one estate planning attorney who has told the same jokes for more than 20 years! He tells every audience that he has “never seen a hearse pulling a U-Haul trailer” and he gets laughs every time. He tells it more like a story anyways so audience doesn’t really need to “get it” and laugh on cue. No one gets offended. No one gets embarrassed. And he gets attendees to like him and sign up for a first meeting.
My general recommendation is to tell stories not jokes. Don’t poke fun at anyone but yourself. And never tire of telling the same stories over and over. Your goal is to get new clients and not get a job as a stand-up comic. A funny joke which bores you is way better than a fresh one-liner which offends someone in your audience. And that’s no laughing matter!
Radio advertising is a great way to get known in your community as an financial expert and promote your upcoming events.
Your ad must lead with a attention grabbing headline to get the listeners’ interest. This keeps them from changing the station or just mentally tuning out.
Beware of letting your ad rep write your ad. Their goal is to sell ads and that’s their main skill. They may or may not be able to write ads which help you. Remember that the ad costs the same regardless of how it performs. You want a “direct response” ad so you know if your ad pays for itself or not. These type of ads include a very simple way for listeners to contact you, like an easy to remember website address or super easy phone number (for example, 334-555-7777). The most effective direct response ads repeat the website address or phone number at least 3 times in the commercial to enhance recall.
The time and cost of producing a radio commercial is far below the cost of producing an equivalent length television commercial. And if an ad doesn’t work you just record another one. Most radio stations include free production as part of your advertising buy, which includes both the copywriting and voiceover assistance.
You must choose your radio station carefully. The listening audience’s demographics must match your target market. Not your taste in music. A great ad on the wrong station won’t build your practice. Look for stations that have a large number of financially qualified listeners; some radio stations can supply you with that specific research data, especially in larger metropolitan areas. You can also reasonably assume that stations that program a format that appeals to an older demographic will in general terms be more likely to utilize a financial planner, as opposed to stations that target listeners in their teens and 20’s. Formats that perform especially well with a more affluent audience of adults over the age of 45 include news, talk, oldies, jazz and classical stations.
Radio consultant and station owner Burke Allen from Allen Media Strategies recommends that you always negotiate with the station account executive. “Electronic media sales reps tend to have quite a bit of flexibility with their per spot rate and placement so don’t accept the first thing that is offered to you.”
The two main categories of radio stations are commercial and noncommercial.
Commercial radio stations play all kinds of music which appeals to all ages and social classes. As I mentioned earlier, the demographics of commercial radio vary widely so choose your station wisely.
Radio spots are typically 60 seconds long which is about 250 to 300 words. 60 seconds is plenty of time to create an effective advertisement. Remember to start out strong to keep your listeners attention.
Best to use the radio station staff to record the commercial especially when you’re promoting a seminar or other event. You want to be positioned as a financial expert not a used car salesman. “CFP” does not stand for “Certified Financial Pitchman”!
You can be the star if you use an interview format. You provide valuable information so people see it as a mini-radio show rather than a commercial. They pay attention and don’t change the channel. Here’s a simplified version of a commercial using this format:
Public radio stations tend to program either a News/Talk format or classical/jazz/world music. These formats appeal to older and more affluent audiences. You won’t advertise, of course, you’ll be a “supporter”of noncommercial radio. In recent years, public radio stations have expanded what supporters can say about their businesses. For example:
“Bob Johnson and Johnson Wealth Management support the arts community and Jefferson Public Radio. With systematic planning and proven strategies, Bob Johnson helps families prepare for all stages of life from college savings accounts, to funding a busy and vital retirement, to handling long-term care needs. You can reach Bob in his Medford office at 555-666-7777.”
Listen to your local public radio station and get a feel of what they allow. Don’t be afraid to push the envelope. Somebody has in the past and you might as well push it a bit further. Perhaps they’ll allow a community announcement like this:
“Bob Johnson and Johnson Wealth Management support the arts community and Jefferson Public Radio. On Tuesday, July 5th, Bob Johnson will be holding a community seminar to help individuals and couple learn how to avoid probate and minimize estate taxes. For more details and an invitation, call Bob Johnson in his Medford office at 555-666-7777.”
These underwriter announcements are short and to the point, and are helpful not “salesy”. They work best if recorded by a well-known and well-liked station announcer, but are often read live at public stations.
When should your ads run? Morning and afternoon drive times are the most listened to time on radio, as about 70% of radio listening happens in-car. I helped one advisor who had a 15 minute “Financial Forum” every business day at 8 a.m. This time slot worked great. Another preferred time might be the noon news hour if the station has a large at-work listenership. Not all times are the same in terms of listening levels so try to get the best times possible.
In all cases, ask for a log of when the spots ran along with the spot name if you have several different ads running. You must know which ads are working and which ads need to be dropped. If you run ads on more than one station you may find one station works substantially better than the other. In that case, drop the loser and double-up on the winner.
This Wall Street Journal article points out that many Regional Broker/Dealers are raising minimum production amounts. If you’re feeling some heat from your broker/dealer, you have two choices. Improve your marketing to raise your production…or fire your BD! After the article you can find ideas on both of these choices.
Regionals Raise Broker Production Minimums
By Kristen McNamara
The barrier to entry for would-be brokers at some regional firms is getting higher. And brokers already working at those firms are finding they have higher hurdles to clear, too.
Financial advisers who move to regional broker-dealers from large Wall Street institutions often generate more in fees and commissions than regional incumbents. Some of these new arrivals want to work at smaller organizations while others are pushed out by wirehouses which are trying to shed what are, for them, lower producers.
The amount of client money wirehouse brokers oversee, and their corresponding pay, is generally much higher than that of the regional brokers. That means low-producing wirehouse brokers can still generate more revenue than the average regional broker.
The average amount of money overseen by a wirehouse broker was $71.9 million at the end of 2008, according to research and consulting firm Cerulli Associates’s most recent data. That’s more than double $31.9 million in average assets per regional financial adviser, according to Cerulli.
The number of brokers migrating to regionals from wirehouses jumped between late 2008 and the first half of 2009. Several Wall Street giants that merged focused on keeping their biggest brokers — generally those producing at least $500,000 a year — by offering them big retention bonuses, while discouraging lower producers from staying with pay cuts.
While the movement of wirehouse brokers to regional firms has slowed considerably in recent months, the influx of wirehouse brokers prompted some regional firms to begin raising production requirement for employees and recruits.
Janney Montgomery Scott, for example, increased last year its minimums for prospective hires to $500,000 in annual fees and commissions and $60 million in assets under management. That’s above the firm’s average production now, which is approaching $450,000.
It also raised to $200,000 from $150,000 the minimum brokers must generate each year or have their payout reduced. It expects to gradually move that minimum higher.
The relatively small size of regional brokerages compared with wirehouses fosters a more collegial culture, according to consultants and recruiters.
“Regionals are certainly looking to raise average production,” says Mindy Diamond, president of executive search firm Diamond Consultants. “At the end of the day, they’ll do it differently” than wirehouses.
Beginning next year, Edward Jones will raise its production requirements for the first time in more than a decade. Brokers who have been with the firm for more than 10 years will need to generate at least $30,000 a month in fees and commissions, and $32,000 if they’ve been with the firm 12 or more years. That compares with a requirement of $27,000 for eight-year veterans today.
The firm says it’s giving brokers plenty of advance notice and has improvement plans to help struggling brokers. Still, those who don’t improve within months may be fired.
“Regional firms don’t have the same level of ruthlessness as large wirehouses,” says Mark Elzweig, founder of executive search firm Mark Elzweig Co.
“Don’t have the same level of ruthlessness….” That’s comforting…not!
An old USP for Federal Express was “Don’t panic. Call Federal Express!” Likewise, if you’re below minimum production numbers for your broker/dealer you need to take action now but you don’t need to panic.
What should you do? You should click the “Productivity” link above and implement enough ideas to free up some time to invest in your marketing activities. You also need to free up some cash so you can invest some money in your marketing activities.
You need high return without high risk marketing ideas because you must grow your practice this year. So don’t even consider getting creative and developing your own marketing system. You simply don’t have the time (and probably the money) to create and test advertisements, content, offers, etc.
You need to investigate proven, turn-key, marketing programs designed specifically for financial advisors. Find one you’re comfortable with and go for it! Just resist the temptation to get too creative…when you buy a marketing program you need to stick with the program.
This puts an entirely different spin on this topic. Maybe you’re tired of your BD’s compliance standards and unpredictable approval process. Maybe you’re producing enough for your lifestyle but not enough for your BD’s higher production standard. There are alternatives out there to consider who have lower production minimums.
Contact me and I’ll give you some suggestions. Got a great BD? Add your comments below and let us know all about them.
You can get more folks to your seminar with free bonuses. These bonuses can include autographed copies of your book or a free initial consultation with an estate planning attorney or a tax analysis or a portfolio review. Even the offer of free door prizes can help build attendance.
You’ll be more relaxed and do a better seminar when you use a check off list for your event.
Before your event, make a list of everything you’ll need for your event. This can include items for your literature table such as brochures and business cards. You’ll have equipment like your laptop computer, your pointer, and your projector. How about an extension cord? You’ll also want things near you at the podium such as a glass of water and a pad and paper to take notes.
During your event, jot down items you wish you had so you’ll remember to bring them the next time. After the event, update your list so you’ll be a bit better prepared the next time.
This past Tax Day, I was interviewed by Jobie Summer, CFP® of Resources For Advisors about the Family Living Trust Seminar system. Her questions included:
You can listen to the interview by going to the Family Living Trust Seminar website.
Richard Emmons discusses the importance of “reading your audience” to know when someone doesn’t “get it” so you can explain the concept again. Anyone left behind in the presentation is much less likely to sign up for a first appointment.
For more seminar marketing ideas go to http://www.MyLivingTrustSeminar.com.
This short video looks at when you should feed your seminar attendees. Should you hold lunch seminars or dinner seminars? Should you feed them before your presentation? Or “hold them hostage” and feed them after your presentation?
The offer of a free meal attracts folks to your seminars. The delivery of a good meal keeps them happy at the presentation and impacts your goal: getting them to sign up for an first appointment.
For more seminar marketing ideas go to http://www.MyLivingTrustSeminar.com.
Richard Emmons encourages financial advisors to develop their public speaking ability by getting more experience doing their own seminars as well as joining groups like Toastmasters.
To find the nearest Toastmasters Club go to www.toastmasters.org/.