EDITOR�S NOTE: Like never
before, our country has an information glut with far too much
material to absorb on new technology, personal achievements,
business education, keeping abreast of change. The solution is
intensive seminars of one or more days where an attendee can get
more useful information than in a college course. Millions pay high
fees to attend. They constantly search for new seminars to expand
their horizons. Can you profit by this exploding interest?
In this series of
informative articles, consultant Rene Gnam takes you through the
basics of entering the high-pay world of seminaring.
A foremost direct
response advertising consultant, Rene Gnam presents over 50
seminars a year and creates the advertising for many seminar
sponsors. From his Florida office, he directs seminar marketing
around the world and is deemed an expert on scientific analysis and
projection of results. He has written two advertising books, several
portfolios, recorded his techniques on audio cassettes, and recently
presented 12 television programs on direct response advertising.
Here are the 15 most
critical points in your step by step planning for success at running
your own seminars:
Study your assets -- your
knowledge in your field, not necessarily the field in which you earn
your major income.
Make a checklist of broad
subjects on which you are qualified. Mark those of particular
Determine who needs your
wisdom. Design engineers? Middle management executives?
Administrative assistants? Barn builders? Nurses? Salespeople?
Homebodies? Opportunity seekers? Investors?
Measure your potential
universe. How many people? As consumers or businessfolk? Where are
Develop a rough biography
that pinpoints your wisdom and achievements. Forget the usual
Examine the best photos of
yourself. Will they do in promoting attendance? Do you need
professional shots? Don't spend money on photos, yet.
Define your subject matter
in broad categories. Then, under each category heading, list
individual topics that apply to the categories.
Write outlines of your
presentation. Outlines only.
Examine your bank accounts.
How much money can you afford to lose? Over what period of time? How
much can you get for additional investment later on? At what cost?
Examine your lifestyle. Are
you willing to travel? Would being away from home endanger a
wonderful life situation? Should your seminars be only on weekends
(then forget getting
businesspeople to attend)?
If at this point you're
still eager, take your outlines and a tape recorder to a quiet spot.
Stand up. Speak as long as you can on each point in the outlines and
record everything, not caring about delivery quality.
Transcribe the tapes. Edit
the transcriptions. You now have a very rough draft of your
material. Constantly edit and revise it. Forever.
Get an advisor who's been
there. Show your consultant your outlines, checklists, edited
roughs, budgets. Fess up. Be 100% honest. Listen to the advice you
Be prepared to invest money
on three fronts before you announce a seminar: A) consulting
guidance, B) refining your presentation skills, C) drafts of seminar
You may be able to reduce
these start-up expenses by bartering your knowledge to those you
After step 13, find a few
small groups to address at no fee, to practice public delivery and
to get the bugs out of the material you use.
What about costs?
Seminaring isn't cheap. You
can't launch a program for under $1,000 as the books say. Not today.
Not if you intend to make it an ongoing, profitable business.
Here are some front end
figures to study, assuming you will have about 50 people in an
HOTEL MEETING ROOM: $75 -
$300 per day, depending on city and class of hotel.
COFFEE BREAKS: $1.50 -
$6.50 per person. Mandatory.
ATTENDEE LUNCHEONS: $10.50
- $25 per person. Optional.
HOTEL SUITE: $150 - $450
per day, and you must use a suite because you have lots of handouts
and you want to encourage private meetings to get back end results.
Bars and lobbies are unprofessional.
TIPS, PORTERS, MEALS, ETC.:
$100 - $250 per day. Depends on how well you treat yourself.
SHIPPING MATERIALS: $50 per
TRAVEL: Look it up
on the web or in the
Official Airline Guide. Figure an average of $250 per city by air.
HANDOUTS: At least $15 per
person, but you pay more since you'll start with minimum quantities.
DIRECT MAIL: At least $250
per thousand invitations for printing, paper, postage, lists,
mailing services. Another $1,000 or so for typesetting and art.
That's after creative copy and layouts have been done.
PUBLICATION ADS: Usually
not worthwhile. There are some exceptions, determined by the nature
of your audience.
PRESS RELEASES: $100 - $200
per program. Well worth it.
How about response?
Some seminars make a profit
at 1/20th of 1% response from all the invitations mailed. That's
one-half person showing up per thousand pieces mailed. Most programs
need 1%, or 10 people per thousand. Mine need 1/10th of 1%.
How much response you need
depends on your costs and what you charge attendees. A full day
seminar can bring you from $95 to $500 per day, depending on the
subject matter, your perceived expertise, and the mailing audience
you reach. You can get even more in highly technical fields.
But don't aim for response
percentages. You must convert all responses into dollars to gauge
your success and project your future seminaring.
I promise more important
concepts for you in the concluding article in this series.