I have a real estate client in the state of Iowa that is gearing up to hold a Home Buyer Seminar. With today’s economy and the stale real estate market you, the real estate virtual assistant, can offer to put together the details so the seminar goes smoothly and is a huge success. If your a real estate agent looking to conduct your first seminar you need to be organized and ready to answer some tough questions.
So what does it take to put on a successful buyer’s seminar? The steps are easy to do. They include lining up your speakers, selecting their topics, setting a date, selecting a location, arranging prizes for attendees, advertising your seminar, watching your seminar budget and offering a valuable information-filled program to the attendees.
Have Industry Speakers
You invite whom you want to participate, and you decide what they will talk about. You will want to have about four speakers including yourself to complete a two-hour program. Choose your speakers from among a mortgage broker, an attorney, a title company representative, a home inspector, and an appraiser. Draw on your experience and ask your speakers to address the most common questions you face from your prospective clients.
Most popular topics are consistently:
* How a Buyer Agent Can Save You Money
* How A Buyer Agent Find’s The Perfect Home For You
* Home Inspection Horror Stories
* The Reason You Need A Lawyer
* How To Get A Downpayment
* What You Need To Know About Qualifying For A Mortgage
Set a Time and Date
Once you have your speakers, you need to set a date; Hold your seminars every 6 weeks (in a town of 26,000), and promote them for 3 weeks before the date. The best days to hold a seminar are Tuesday & Thursday. Start at 7:30 sharp, and make sure everyone is out by 9:30, although you can be available for one-on-one questions after that time. I’ve found 7:30 to be the best start time as the majority of the population here commutes at least 45 minutes, and they need time to get dinner, etc. before the seminar.
Find a location
As far as location is concerned, I suggest that you use someplace that is:
* Easy to find
* Lots of parking
* Room for your projected attendance
* Decent Acoustics
Some examples of nice, low-cost places to stage a seminar are:
* Conference Center
* Community Hall
* High School Auditorium
* Restaurant / Hotel Meeting room
A trick I figured out after helping my real estate client prepare for his first seminar (for which 63 people signed up) is to limit the attendance. I would set a limit to 24 people, and require advance registration. Once the limit is reached, you can either get the people in for a private session, or offer to sign them up for the next seminar. I chose to limit the attendance for 2 reasons
1.It creates a more immediate call-to-action on the part of prospective attendees
2. The question period can get far too long with more attendees
We find that only a few of the people who sign up in the first week of advertising will show up, and nearly everyone who signs up in the week of the seminar will show up.
Gifts & Incentives
All attendees are entered in a drawing for a free appraisal when they buy through you. Also, everyone who attends and buys through you gets a free home inspection and free title insurance. (you pay a discounted fee for the home inspection and the title insurance.) The mortgage broker pays for 30% of the advertising, and I pay all the other expenses. You may not want to charge the lawyer to be a speaker, because you probably get lots of free service from him as it is.
Once someone signs up, mail them a coupon for their free gifts (only valid if they buy through you) to be authorized at the seminar, a coupon to enter the draw-prize, a newsletter, and a letter thanking them for attending. We send all this in a 9″ x 12″ white envelope with a color logo on it, promoting the seminar, and listing the same information as the newspaper ads.
You can have your virtual assistant call all registrants the night before the seminar, to remind people. If someone says they can’t make it, you can call one of the people who had to be put off until the following seminar.
Advertising the seminar
Start running a 4.5″ x 6″ ad in the weekly real estate section of your local paper 3 weeks before the seminar. The ad costs us $92 per insertion, and is 3 color. I outline the speakers; topics covered; the gifts to attendees, and the location/date. For my next seminar on May 11th, I am running a 1/2 page ad, in full color, at a cost of $350 per insertion. This ad will contain a testimonial letter from one of the past seminar attendees who I have sold a home to; the other half contains what I’ve previously outlined.
We also distribute 8.5″ x 11″ posters to all the stores and businesses in the area. These are on obnoxious neon paper, and outline the same thing as the newspaper ads.
Other venues for advertising that we use are:
* Web site ( www.desmoineshomesource.com)
* A fax cover sheet that is used exclusively for the week prior to the seminar
* An insert into all the mail my company sends out
Another advertising source I have considered is having mail delivered to all the apartments in town; the postal service offers a discount for this, but it would still cost $470 for 1440 apartments.
* Hall: $60
* Refreshments: $25
* Newspaper Ads: $276 – $92 paid by mortgage broker = $184
* Posters (incl. delivery) $25
* Binders: $420
* Giveaways: $70
* Total: $768
A couple of notes here: we don’t include the amount we pay for the inspection & title insurance, because it is not an expense until they buy. Also, the binders cost me $30 each because they are custom Better Homes and Gardens binders with lots of color pages in them; again, ask your real estate virtual assistant to put together 30 of them. The she can mail them to me.
You might think that the binders are an excessive cost, but they are well worth it; people are amazed that they get to keep them, and they bring it with them whenever we are looking at houses.
Is putting on a buyer’s seminar worth the planning and expense. I think so.
If you are considering a Home Buyer or Home Seller Seminar, ask your virtual assistant to help you with the planning of what is becoming a popular way to get in front of leads and explain the process.
If you would like more information, please let me know. Email me at Kim@kimHughes.com or leave a comment on this blog.