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The Power Of Dinner Seminars And Direct Mail

Entrepreneur, Author, Speaker, CEO & Founder of Social Dynamic Selling. Connect with Rylee

I love sales. One of the reasons I fell in love with it was because of the idea that I could control how much I earned. If I wanted or needed to make more money, I simply needed to sell more. However, as much as I heard it being touted, I never bought into the idea that my earning ability was uncapped because I knew there was only a certain amount of time in a day. I quickly learned the higher the ticket item I sold, the more commission I earned, but in turn, the longer it took for me to close a sale. Sure, I could hire and manage more sales representatives to earn an override, but I still felt like there was a limit to what could be accomplished solely based on the amount of time in a day. I mean, we have to sleep, right?

When I was first introduced to the concept of dinner seminars, I have to believe it was like the invention of fire—it blew my mind. The idea that I could present to a group of people and then only meet with those who wanted to know more or to get a quote completely rocked me. I was used to spending two to three hours with a prospect before hopefully getting a chance to present the price. This seminar model would allow me to present to 20 to 30 people at one time. I thought, “I’ll do this every night of the week.”

We hear a lot about online funnels these days, but in essence, the dinner seminar model is a prime example of an “offline” funnel. The idea of a funnel is taking people through a sales system and providing them with enough information to make the best decision for themselves. Likewise, with a seminar, you use marketing—typically via direct mail—to get a prospect to respond and register for the upcoming event. At the event, you present your products and/or services. Assuming you do a good job, those interested are offered a time to meet one on one to learn more, ultimately giving you the opportunity to close the sale.

In my experience, one of the most powerful things about dinner seminars is the ability to build rapport with a prospect with whom you wouldn’t have had the chance to connect in any other circumstances. Hosting them in a neutral environment removes the barrier of coming to an office or clinic, where they may be held back by the fear of being sold something. As the host of a dinner seminar, you can win them over and build trust before asking for the follow-up appointment. In addition, the law of reciprocity applies—you just bought them a nice dinner, and all you’re asking in return is a meeting to see if your product or service will solve their problem or need.

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So, how does direct mail fit into the equation?

I’ve heard it said that “direct mail is dead.” I love when I hear this because the more business owners who think this, the less clutter there is in people’s mailboxes, which leaves more room for me. When it comes to seminars, I’ve tried virtually every form of direct marketing out there, but there has never been a better return on results than that of direct mail.

My end goal with any seminar is to acquire a new sale or client. I don’t care if my ad is seen by 10,000 eyeballs. At the end of the day, I’m only concerned about one final number: how many new customers I acquire. When starting with the end in mind, I can map out who I want to invite (my ideal client). If I know this, I can then determine a location to host my event and then craft an invitation that will grab their attention.

Think about this: Most people check their mail standing over the garbage can, which means my relationship starts with my new potential client over their garbage can. That being said, I need to craft a mailpiece that grabs their attention immediately and makes them decide to attend the seminar. Assuming I do my job, I now have a potential client that I can work with: one who makes decisions. Direct mail attracts the type of person I need sitting in my seminar, one who can make a decision versus someone who scrolls online and shops around.

When marketing my product or service, I often relate it to the difference between farming and hunting. One isn’t necessarily better than the other. It all depends on the need. If I’m a farmer, I plant seeds in one season and hope for a harvest in another. A great example of “farming” is billboards, radio or TV commercials. Seminar marketing via direct mail is more like hunting. I am able to identify my prey, as well as where they are located. Once I’ve found them, I’m able to shoot, clean and eat within a few hours or days before moving on to my next location.

While this may sound somewhat vulgar, my intent is simply to point out the difference between different forms of marketing. Seminar marketing and sales is not for every person, product or service. But for those who understand it, I can confidently say there isn’t a better sales system out there.

Forbes Business Council is the foremost growth and networking organization for business owners and leaders. Do I qualify?


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