How to Run A Seminar That Kills Your Business

My youngest daughter, Madeline, is in the final stages of deciding where she will spend her next four years. At the time of this writing, she has heard from four of the 17 (yes, 17!) colleges to which she has applied. Later on today, in fact, she will hear from several Ivy League schools, further muddying the waters and adding to the many choices she already has.

Last night, she and I went to a presentation for accepted students put on by one of the schools where she has been accepted. This was an attempt to close the deal, so to speak, and convince my daughter that she should be amongst the incoming freshman class later this year.

Based on what we saw last night, this school (which I will not name) will be proceeding without the likes of Madeleine Priscilla Farquharson. The speakers were unconvincing and long-winded. The food was sparse and inadequate. When the “sales pitch” was done and they asked if there were any questions, you could hear crickets. It would appear I was not alone in my opinion.

Everything about last night’s event represented the school. Even the unripe cantaloupe left a bad taste in our mouth, literally and figuratively. It is truly hard to believe that someone in Admissions could have witnessed what we saw and said, “That should do it!” and feel good about the effort.

My point in telling you all this, other than to vent, is to remind you that if you hold any in-house seminars, teaching events, or lunch-and-learns, pay close attention to every detail. A smoothly run event says to the customer, “We are capable of handling your work efficiently and effectively.” A poorly run event causes mistrust and places a permanent label of incompetence on your company’s forehead.

The invitation process needs to be methodical. The agenda needs to be relevant, well delivered, and the speakers well spoken. The food needs to be of top quality. The follow-up needs to be prompt.

As a 30 year sales veteran, Bill has the perspective of a been-there, done-that sales rep in the commercial print arena. Following sales fundamentals and giving unapologetically "old school" advice, he writes and speaks in an entertaining fashion to make his points to sales people and owners who sell. "Bill Farquharson will drive your sales momentum."
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