10 Ways to Run an Effective Real Estate Seminar

April 1, 2008

1. Join forces. Marketing seminars are all about lists — mailing lists, that is. Teaming up with other professionals like attorneys, appraisers, or landscapers can help you get access to their consumer lists and broaden the appeal of your session.

2. Titles matter. Don’t overlook the title of your seminar. Think about the things that keep consumers awake at night, and incorporate those ideas in your seminar title. Instead of advertising a “Home Buying Seminar,” call it, “Five Ways to Save Money Buying Your First Home.”

3. Advertise early and often. Advertise at least three weeks in advance and then again as the seminar date approaches. When people register, get their phone numbers so that you can personally make a reminder call just before the seminar.

4. Make ‘em pay. Many experts say that if you don’t charge a registration fee, you’re conveying that your seminar has no value and that you’re just trying to sell something. In addition, when consumers pay for something, they’re more likely to show up. So consider charging a nominal registration fee of $15-$20.

5. Stray from your office. Another way to avoid the perception that you’re just trying to sell something is to hold your seminar at a local venue like a hotel or library—but never at your own office.

6. Don’t go too high-tech. The flashier your presentation, the less content people will remember. Your video or PowerPoint tools aren’t supposed to be the star of the presentation—you are. Make your presentation professional but not so cutting-edge that consumers walk away remembering the technology, not your expertise.

7. Tell tales. Your primary goal is to educate attendees, and your secondary goal is to establish your credibility. War stories can help you do both. Using phrases like, “When we did this that happened” or “Here’s why I talked those buyers out of that home” puts attendees in the shoes of the people you’re talking about.

8. End it well. Your close is your last chance to impress people. Don’t throw it away with a casual, “That’s it. Thanks for coming.” Make a specific offer such as, “I’ll be at the back of the room for 20 minutes, and I have room in my business now for four additional buyer clients. If we get more than that, I’ll have to put you on a waiting list.”

9. Let your clients speak. People may not have a real estate need now, but if you impress them, they’ll save your handouts for when they do need you. Include client testimonials prominently — on the first or last page or both — in those handouts.

10. Keep in touch. Make sure your registration process includes a request for permission to contact people after the seminar so that you don’t violate do-not-call or e-mail spam laws. Then create a follow-up campaign that includes an e-mail or postcard each month, and supplement that with a personal call every quarter.

Sources: John Doerr, Wellesley Hills Group, Framingham, Mass.; Kelle Sparta, Sparta Success Systems, Newton, Mass.