Selling by Seminar: Let the Prospects Do the Walking

By dr. milt grassell

If you are looking for a better way to increase your sales and profits, you should try selling-by-seminar. Here are the advantages:

You’ll be giving your sales presentation to a group of prospects rather than to one person.

You’ll have a guaranteed period of time to give your complete sales presentation without interruption.

You’ll be able to see prospects you’d not be able to see by appointment.

You’ll be able to bring satisfied customers and prospects together in the same room.

While selling-by-seminar has been used primarily to sell intangibles, it works just as well with tangibles.

It’s usually best to have your seminar in a “natural” place like a hotel, restaurant, college, etc., rather than at your firm’s offices.
Don’t cut cost! Hold your seminars in only the best places. Select a location:
That’s easily accessible from the freeways and has adequate well-lighted parking facilities.
That has neat, clean, attractive, well-lighted and well-ventilated seminar rooms.
That serves good food if you’ll be including meals.

The length of your seminars depends on how much you need to say to get your message across. However, you should be able to do this:
During a breakfast, luncheon or dinner meeting.
During a non-meal function such as mid-morning, in the afternoon, or after dinner in the evening.
I’ve scheduled successful sales seminars during all of these times. The key is how they are promoted.

Give Two Choices
Schedule the same seminar on two consecutive days. This won’t double your attendance, but it will make it possible for more people to come.

Seminar Promotion
The best way to get prospects to attend your seminars is to use this three-step approach:
Direct Mail
Phone Follow-Up
Last Minute Reminder
You can often purchase adequate mailing lists or you can build your own. Putting together a good prospect mailing list isn’t difficult because you already have a number of readily available sources:
Your Own Records
Chamber of Commerce Membership and Industrial Directories
Trade Journals
Telephone Directories
Various Directories and Other Sources In Your Local Library
Written invitation: First, mail out written invitations and enclose postpaid return response cards. Emphasize benefits! Give the place, date(s), time(s), and a simplified map if the location is difficult to find.
Follow-Up Calls: Don’t be disappointed if everyone doesn’t respond. They never do.
Just pick up the phone and have your secretary do the calling for you. Note! The written invitation – whether your prospect has read it or not – will take the curse off the call.
The prospect may say, “I didn’t receive the invitation” or “I wasn’t interested,” etc. Say, “It’s a good thing I called…” Continue! Never pause! Emphasize benefits!
“Last-Minute” Reminders: One day before your “seminar,” phone and remind each prospect. They’ll appreciate this.

The Seminar Presentation
Make a professional sales presentation.
Use good quality audio-visual aids. Do your best in making stimulating demonstrations!
Be sure to involve your participants. After giving an overall view of what my seminars are all about, I ask each participant the one thing they want to get from the presentation. This forces me to present my material from their viewpoints. These viewpoints are written on large chalkboards in front of the room.
Invite some of your more enthusiastic customers and clients to share their own experiences with your products/services.
These statements are powerful endorsements in your behalf. And, of course, throughout your presentation encourage and answer questions.

How to Hold Prospects after Your Sales Presentation Ends
Prospects tend to rush out after the formal presentation thinking that’s the end. But for you it isn’t. This is the time that you need to greet as many as possible of your prospects individually, even if it’s just for a few moments.
Here’s the secret to holding your prospects. Serve your refreshments now and suggest that they stay at least long enough to talk to your present customers (whom you’ve introduced during your presentation as well as to give you time to visit with each one personally.
Another secret is to hold your attendance to about 15 to 20 prospect-guests. This helps in two ways:
Your guests will feel your presentation was really presented for them rather than for the multitudes.
* You’ll be able to talk individually to most of them at the end of your presentation.

Mail out thank-you-for-attending notes immediately after the seminar and start calling each prospect for an appointment.
Selling-by-seminar will give you quicker and greater market penetration, sales and profits.

Dr. Milt Grassell holds a doctorate degree from Oregon State University. He is a full-time consultant, speaker and sales seminar leader.