Investment programs across the country are turning to more precise marketing efforts to get in front of ideal candidates for their services. One way to accomplish this is by conducting branch workshops. Marketing departments can target very specific audiences, increasing quality leads. Workshops to targeted audiences produce results with much higher dollars invested as compared to traditional branch referrals. Workshops also provide an excellent opportunity to showcase the program and the advisor to the financial institution.
Here is the process for a successful workshop with important tips.
1. Pre-Workshop Planning:
- Identify your topic of discussion. The most popular topics center around retirement.
- Identify your target audience. For retirement workshops, this audience will be in the 50-75 age range.
- Identify the location. Try to use a branch lobby. Engagement with the branch manager throughout this process is critical. They need to be “all in” for this activity to be a success.
- Build your message/invitation. The most effective delivery method is a combination of several types of communication: email invitations, in-branch signage, and in-person promotion from branch employees.
- Set the date and time. The late afternoon is typically the best time for workshops. Set your date at least 8 weeks in advance to begin assigning tasks.
- Equipment. This might include a projector, screen, tables, chairs, etc.
- Program managers should coach advisors on the presentation. Advisors should PRACTICE! Advisors should not “wing it”. Remember, we are trying to create a connection between the attendees and the advisor. Without a prepared advisor, any workshop will be ineffective.
- Keep the number of attendees less than 10 people. Too many attendees and the ability to connect with the audience is minimized if not eliminated. The smaller, the better.
- Follow up and confirm with those that have submitted RSVPs. These confirmation calls should be made more than just once. See the table below for recommended frequency.
- Track the response. This is critical. Who sent in an RSVP and attended? Did an invitee attend with a guest? Were there attendees not on your RSVP list?
- Have a sign-in sheet. Be prepared with the names of the attendees and ask them to check their name as well as confirming that their mailing address is still accurate.
- Provide light refreshments.
- Keep the presentation to 30 minutes in length. The idea is to generate dialogue and questions during and afterward. The entire workshop should not run over an hour in length.
- Don’t forget to invite the branch employees! This is the best branch referral training you will ever conduct!
3. Post Workshop
- Follow up with a phone call to thank everyone for coming.
- Set appointments. Remember, the goal of your workshop is to generate leads.
- Measure Results. How many appointments were you able to set? How many returned for their scheduled appointment? Finally, what sales resulted?
Workshops are an excellent way to generate leads, meet new clients, introduce the investment advisor to the branch staff, and more. Many advisors successfully host 4 of workshops a year. Set yourself a goal of how many you’d like to do this year, follow these best practices, and you’ll be on your way to a successful workshop. See the table below for a helpful timeline.
Here is an example of a timeline for procedures:
By Mark Curtis
Regional Program Manager
Non-deposit investment products and services are offered through CUSO Financial Services, L.P. (“CFS”) or Sorrento Pacific Financial, LLC ("SPF"), registered broker-dealers (Members FINRA (www.finra.org) / SIPC (www.sipc.org)) and SEC Registered Investment Advisors. Products offered through CFS and SPF: are not federally insured, are not guarantees or obligations of banks or credit unions, and may involve investment risk including possible loss of principal. Investment Representatives are registered through CFS or SPF. Credit Unions and Banks have contracted with CFS and SPF to make non-deposit investment products and services available to credit union members and bank customers.