Roundtable Dinners – The Seminar Alternative: Part 2
In Part 1 of this series I explained what goes on behind-the-scenes before your actual dinner. In this article, we’ll deal the dinner itself, and I’ll give you tips and pointers on how to make it as effective as possible. Here we go!
Step Four: THE DINNER
At dinner, it’s crucial to engage your diners. Talk about topics of interest. Be smart with your time, and don’t waste time on a topic of little interest to your intimate group. It’s simple: if you predetermined that everyone in attendance is extremely happy with their current short term investment positions, don’t spend time talking about three-month C.D’s. On the other hand, if there seems to be mutual concern regarding retirement accounts, spend time on this. Tailor the discussion based on your audience’s questions and feedback. You want to legitimately help your prospects, because in return they will like and trust you a key for closing the sale.
Unlike a seminar held in a big, spacious conference room, attendees sitting around a table at a nice restaurant can’t hide from conversation. Immersed in this social setting, the dinner table creates a less-threatening atmosphere where clients can share their personal needs and desires. Not only this, but when someone buys you dinner it’s culturally correct to be responsive to your host. Engagement isn’t an issue with Roundtable Dinners™.
PULL DON’T PUSH!
Don’t be obnoxious and force-feed a conversation with a predictable destination. Be interested and pull information from your prospective clients to get the conversation rolling. This is what makes Roundtable Dinners™ so much more effective than seminars. You have the ability to get to know the needs and concerns of the folks at the table by simply being interested and doing a bit of gentle steering. If you are careful to pull and not push information, the conversation flows easily and results come naturally. Done correctly, the evening will effortlessly progress into an informative and valuable experience for your guests.
Many will be very interested in setting up an appointment when you contact them and, if you’ve really done a good job, they will be pushing you for a time to meet. The key is to pull information and not push it. Once you’ve pulled out the diners’ concerns and interests, you will find yourself leading an effortless discussion that acutely addresses the needs of your interested audience.
The discussion works best when it’s positioned as an educational discussion rather than a heavy marketing ploy. Again, pull, don’t push leave out the heavy promotion of your products and services. It’s important to let your prospects feel comfortable with you and confident in your investment expertise. You can help put them at ease by telling them upfront “there will be no active selling at your dinner.” Your main goal at your Roundtable Dinners™ is to build trust and establish your expertise.
AT THE CLOSE OF THE DINNER
After dinner and conversation, your guests will start to push their chairs back from the table. As things draw to a close, look for appropriate openings to ask for appointments. You’ve undoubtedly done this before, so trust your instincts and act. Here are a few pointers to guide you:
- If your guests ask you to call them back for an appointment, get specific details, like the best number to reach them at and the best time to call.
- Walk them to the door.
- Be warm and cordial.
- Don’t think that you have to sell them every step of the way.
- Pull Selling is more effective than Push Selling in any situation, but it’s especially true at a dinner event.
If you want more information about Pull Selling, give us a call 1-800-442-0112 and one of our experts will be happy to talk to you. And don’t forget to read the third part of this series. It’s all about the follow-up after your Roundtable Dinner™!