The owners of a high-technology business needed to raise venture capital. The CEO of the company claimed that they had tried everything to raise funds, but had only been moderately successful. They had used up all of the funds raised in addition to most of their life savings. They were desperate. With the addition of about $1 million in capital, they would reach critical mass and begin to turn a profit.
The owners of this company had flown all over the country to meet with potential investors. Obviously, with the cost of airfare, hotel rooms, meals, and so on, this was a very expensive way to raise money.
Asked if they had ever conducted seminars for groups, the CEO replied, “That would never work in our industry. The kind of people who invest in companies like ours need personalized attention.” Yet all the personalized attention they had lavished on individual investors had done little good. It was time to consider a much more efficient way of selling and raising money: seminar selling.
These entrepreneurs did not meet with instant success using seminar selling. They did not because they didn’t know how to do it. They didn’t know how to get mailing lists, design brochures and invitational pieces, select a location, and, most important of all, they were not skilled presenters. However, after a couple of months of hard work and preparation, they offered their first seminar and raised some much-needed money. Their seminar marketing got better and more sophisticated with each attempt and within six months, they had the funds they required to expand their business and hit their profitability target. Had they not been convinced of the power of seminar selling, it is likely that their business would not have made it.
Many sales executives and their teams typically spend the majority of their time selling one-on-one-call one person on the phone, send an e-mail or fax to another person, and then drive out to visit another person. While one-on-one selling can be very effective, it can also be quite inefficient, unproductive, and time-consuming. Seminar selling provides a lucrative alternative. When you have both a system for getting in front of a huge number of high-quality prospects and the skills to do a first-rate presentation, you achieve awesome selling power.
Seminar selling takes many forms. By whatever name, it involves you speaking to a group of highly qualified prospects. Seminar selling can take place at conventions, workshops, hotels, restaurants, golf courses, or trade shows. It also takes place on the Internet in the form of Web-broadcasted seminars. The only limiting factor in where and how sales seminars are conducted is in the imagination of the sales organization.
Another limiting belief that prevents sales teams from trying sales seminars is the false assumption that seminar selling is expensive. In fact, when properly conducted, seminar selling is one of the most cost effective methods of personal selling in existence. Telemarketing usually costs less, but telemarketing limits what you can show prospects and the impact your presentation can have.
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