Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Grow Your Exit Planning Practice with Live Presentations

As I complete another successful 2-day Workshop I am reminded of two things:

First, in the emerging field of exit planning, there is nothing more powerful than live presentations to shift an advisor's (or owner's) thinking, making them more effective in using these tools in their practices.

Second, it is a major undertaking to host live events and, therefore, very few advisors go the extra mile to make live presentations a regular part of promoting their message to the market-place.

I would like to share a few thoughts regarding the benefits of hosting live presentations with the belief that this will encourage you to incorporate these presentations into your practice.

Credibility and Expert Status
The first major benefit that you receive from hosting a live presentation is that the audience has gathered to listen to you speak on a topic for which you are a presumed 'expert'. When you take the podium and draw the attention of your listeners, you create a space to make a unique impression on your listeners. Most people watching a live presentation appreciate the fact that a speaker is willing to hold themselves 'out there' and answer questions and respond to comments in an open forum.

The attendees at your live presentation view you as the expert on the topic that you are covering, advancing that ever-so-important issue of credibility that all advisors and consultants face when offering any type of service to the marketplace.

Express Creative Ideas
When you commit to live presentations, you have the unique opportunity to express a creative side of yourself. Beyond the content and material that you are covering (as a credible expert), you can also make a connection with the audience beyond simply delivering information - you can get creative and make the presentation engaging, and, dare I say, even entertaining.

People attend live events not just to gather information. They also attend because they want an experience that cannot be matched by simply reading about the topic on which you are speaking. Knowing this, you have the opportunity to take a topic and make it your own. You do this through the use of creative case studies, stories, and well-prepared materials that make it easier for the audience to understand the points that you are trying to make. When you get creative in delivering your message, you find that a more engaging process occurs.

The Know, Like and Trust Factor
The fact of the matter is that if you are going to go through all of the trouble, expense and inconvenience of hosting live events, your objective from the outset should be to deliver your message in a manner that achieves the objective of being 'memorable'. This not only increases the educational experience of your attendees, but it also furthers the critical 'know, like, and trust' factor. The bottom line is that people do business with people that they 'know, like, and trust'. When you deliver a creative and effective live presentation, this 'know, like and trust' factor takes hold immediately, making it easier to do business with those invited to hear you speak.

Focus for Building Your Practice
A schedule of live events can serve to focus your marketing efforts towards consistently generating new business. It can also strengthen your relationship with existing clients. Pinnacle has a training program that details a 6-week marketing cycle to set and host a live event. Throughout the 6 weeks, you are focusing a certain portion of your firm's resources and time towards marketing the event. By continually hosting live events, you always leave a prospect with the ability to learn more about your services at a future date (for example - see this week's live event at Mohegan Sun Casino in CT, www.exitplanninghartford.com). This focus helps drive your business and gives you a reason ro reach out to many of your existing and would-be clients.

When you speak to a room full of people, you get to say your message once and have it heard by as many people as you can get to attend. The leverage (i.e. benefit) that you get from these events should be measured against the efforts and costs expended to get prospects and clients into your speaking room. It can take a few events to generate a high return on investment, but with a bit of persistence you will soon see that the returns on this short talk will far outweigh the costs of hosting it as you deliver your message to many people at once.

Immediate Feedback
One of the most important aspects of live presentations is the immediate feedback that you receive. Attendees are often very open to providing feedback both in the form of questions and comments during the presentation, as well as in the form of written feedback forms that solicit their insights and opinions of your presentation. This feedback is critical not only to how you make future presentations, but also to how you expand and grow your practice.

The essence of any business transaction is knowing what your customer wants and giving it to them. This seemingly simple objective is advanced when you get feedback at your live events. I personally ask all attendees to be as honest as possible with their feedback. And I put my ego aside and try to really listen to what my audience is telling me. What I am being told is how I can have a more successful business.

Bragging Rights
When you complete a successful live presentation you have achieved a significant event - hence the right to boast about it. At my presentations, we ask attendees for detailed and written feedback, as well as their permission to use the comments as testimonials to encourage future attendees to come to the next presentation. Listed below are a few examples from last week's 2-day exit planning workshop:

"Outstanding presentation to bring structure to a highly complex
area of planning"

- Peter J.

"Excellent seminar - good group interaction and discussion that
included many nuances and extra info."

- Jane J.

"Outstanding seminar."
- Tim P.

"Comprehensive and well put together"
- Mark P.

These testimonials are powerful because they are not you saying how good your product or service is. Instead, it is a credible 3rd party who has experienced your message and is offering to share it with others who will benefit from hearing it as well.

Selling from the Stage
With a bit of practice and precession, a live speaking event can also be a great opportunity for you to sell your services [or products] directly to your attendees at your event. Since the attendees have taken the time to respond to your invitation to attend your speaking event - and they are offering effusive praise for the experience - it is logical that they have a positive pre-disposition towards taking advantage of any offer that you may have. By positioning an offering at the end of your talk, you can make these events profitable for your business and convenient for your clients and customers to sign up for your services. This is where the art of public speaking extends beyond simply marketing and educating and into the selling of your services [and/or products].

Concluding Thoughts
For all of these reasons, I encourage you to put live presentations into your business building tools. Although the coordination and marketing of these events can be taxing, the long-term benefits that you receive are well worth the efforts.

For our Pinnacle Members, we provide materials to take care of the 'content building' portion of your live events. As always, we strongly encourage you to use these materials and to apply your own creative ideas as to how you can present this material to business owners. Doing so is a proven method to grow your business. Pinnacle's most successful Members are using these presentation to owners as a regular course of their ongoing marketing.

If you do not current use live presentations to grow your practice, I truly hope that this newsletter motivates you to action and to experience all of the benefits that come from hosting your own events.

Looking forward to seeing you at my next live event this week in CT.

Specializing in Business Exit Strategies, John M. Leonetti, Esq., M.S. Finance, CM&AA founded Pinnacle Equity Solutions to provide advisors with the tools they need to incorporate Business Exit Planning into their advisory practices. To learn more about John's Exit Strategy Services and to receive a FREE copy of his special report, "How To Incorporate Exit Strategies Into Your Advisory Practice", visit Pinnacle Equity Solutions

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