If your customer base is local or within 100 miles, why not share some of your industry knowledge with your customers and prospects by having a seminar? The advantages are threefold:
- It’s another person-to-person contact with your company
- Customers can gain knowledge about what’s new in your industry.
- Customers can see your company and staff in action.
When offering a seminar of this type, several factors should make it a success and profitable in the long run. Here are some ideas:
- Make it free to attend.
- Keep the time limited to less than two hours, or people will lose interest or leave early.
- Make it educational, not a sales pitch. Customers can hear the sales presentation in their own office and won’t travel to your site for it.
- Try to get speakers or trainers from other companies or outside sources to provide variety.
- Send a formal invitation or at least a personalized letter three weeks in advance so attendees can get it on their calendar.
- Make follow-up calls to those who have not responded within a week of the event.
- Offer to pick up anyone who is coming more than 25 miles. Send a stretch limo or a fancy bus to pick up several attendees at one time.
- Offer some type of refreshment but not an entire meal. If attendees eat too much, they may fall asleep during the presentation.
- Select your attendees carefully. You’re better off with fewer, more qualified people than with a lot of less qualified people.
- Give them something when they leave—a sample, a small gift, and, of course, extensive literature on your products or services.
- Try to set up follow-up dates with each attendee—within a week, if possible.
- Have a question-and answer-session at the end of the seminar and encourage participation.
- Ask attendees whether they felt the seminar was useful and informative and whether they would recommend it to others.
- Find out whether they would attend another seminar in 60 to 90 days.
Hosting seminars will bring your business customers and prospects to a closer and more personal relationship. Education is a great selling tool, and your attendees should be satisfied if they receive worthwhile information. And, by speaking at a seminar and conveying new information and knowledge, you establish yourself as an expert in your field. When you’re buying business products, would you rather buy from a novice or an expert?