6 Weeks to the Perfect Buyer Seminar

March 1, 2005

Holding homebuying seminars can be a great way to attract buyer prospects—but only if the seminars are well planned and executed. Here’s what to do and when.

6 weeks out

  • Set the date and arrange for staffing at the event. You’ll need people at the registration desk and perhaps others at the refreshment table or to help people find seats.
  • Create an agenda of topics to be discussed. Don’t forget to allow time at the beginning for welcoming attendees and introducing speakers, as well as time at the end for questions. The seminar shouldn’t be longer than 90 minutes.
  • Find a sponsor to help defray costs. Mortgage companies, inspectors, attorneys, and moving companies are all potential sponsors.
  • Line up speakers for agenda topics. Your sponsor probably will want to provide a speaker, but you’re in control so choose people you feel confident will stay on topic and present useful information. In addition, find out what audiovisual equipment, if any, will be needed.
  • Reserve a meeting room and any AV equipment requested by the speakers. Do not hold the seminar in your office, because people might be reluctant to attend. Public libraries, community centers, and local banks often have meeting rooms available at little or no cost. Look for a central location with ample free parking.
  • Contact a caterer to arrange refreshments. For a Saturday morning seminar, have fresh fruit, light pastries, coffee, and juice. For an evening seminar, offer cookies, coffee, and soft drinks.
  • Send invitations and flyers to the printer. Include the seminar’s time, date, and location; the name of the sponsor; the theme or topics; and RSVP information. Send the invitations to specific prospects and use the flyers for general marketing purposes.

4 weeks out

  • Develop an advertising and marketing plan. Tactics should include ads in local newspapers and free weeklies, a notice on your Web site, and flyers in public areas such as bulletin boards at grocery stores and laundromats.
  • Obtain handouts from speakers and send the handouts to the printer with an estimated attendee count.

3 weeks out

  • Start marketing the seminar. Invite people in your target market, as well as potential first-time buyers (or investors, if that’s your focus) in your prospect database.

2 weeks out

  • Set up a conference call with the speakers to review the agenda and make sure they’re prepared. Use the call to get the speakers energized and to encourage them to promote the event.
  • Send confirmations to attendees reminding them of the time and location.
  • Prepare evaluation forms for attendees to complete after the event.

1 week out

  • Remind the speakers of the date and location—and make sure they know how to get there. Ask them to arrive at least 30 minutes early.
  • Confirm the meeting room, AV equipment, and caterer.
  • Assemble handouts in folders.

Day before the seminar

  • Call all “reserved attendees” and remind them about the seminar.
  • Prepare thank-you letters to send to attendees the morning after.
  • Prepare thank-you letters to send to speakers the morning after.

Day of the seminar

  • Everyone involved in hosting the seminar should be in business attire. Remember, this will be the first impression many of the attendees have of you and others from your office.
  • Bring your “seminar box.” Include these items:
  • Prepare the room two hours before registration. Make sure the registration table is set up and chairs are arranged in a manner suitable to the number of attendees expected—U-shaped for small groups, rows for larger groups.
  • Set up a wrap-up meeting with the speakers to gather feedback and exchange information and leads.
  • After the seminar, ask participants to fill out an evaluation form.

Day after the seminar

  • Send thank-you letters to attendees and speakers.
  • Send handout packages to those who didn’t attend.
  • Prepare an attendee list for speakers and send it out.

Three days after the seminar

  • Hold a wrap-up meeting to review participant evaluations and talk about what went well and what didn’t.
  • Contact attendees and ask for an appointment to further discuss their property needs.
  • Start setting up your next seminar.

Source: Peter R. West, CCIM, CRS®, Premier Realty Concepts Inc., Pittsfield, Mass., premierrealtyconcepts.com