How Pre-Screening Avoids “Plate Lickers” at Seminars

Kerry JohnsonAdvisor Perspectives welcomes guest contributions. The views presented here do not necessarily represent those of Advisor Perspectives.

Have you ever wondered why your closing ratio on seminar attendees rarely exceeds 40%?

The reason is in the numbers. Twenty-five percent of dinner seminar attendees are “plate-lickers.” Many seniors look for seminars offering free meals for a complimentary night out. Another 15% barely have enough gas money to get to the restaurant. Fewer than 60% of attendees are qualified and willing to book an appointment.

One of my coaching clients told me recently that he spends $712 per closed appointment. That’s a lot of money to feed those who can’t and won’t become your clients.

The answer

Call the RSVPs and pre-screen to determine which attendees are true leads. Here are five questions you should ask each attendee before every seminar:

1. What about the seminar invitation attracted you? Optimally qualified prospects might say, “We are worried about running out of money during retirement and would like to hear about our options.” Pre-retirees may say, “We are retiring next year and don’t want to make any mistakes.” Those seniors who aren’t qualified may respond with, “I am always interested in learning something new,” or, “It’s always good to get exposed to other ideas.” While this may sound like a qualified prospect, they may not care whether the event is a wine tasting or dinner. It is only a way to get a free evening out of the house.

2. What do they want to gain because of attending? The five biggest concerns of seniors during retirement are:

    1. Longevity risk. Running out of money before they run out of life;
    2. Legacy. The government getting their money instead of their heirs;
    3. Market and investment volatility. Whenever the market takes a downturn, they get scared it won’t come back;
    4. Taxes. With ever greater government spending, retirees believe they will be on the hook to pay for it; and
    5. Inflation. Even though the Fed targets a 2% inflation rate, seniors are sensitive to any extra cost that eats into their fixed income.