One way to get out in front of the community in anticipation of the spring home-buying season is to hold an educational seminar on one, or even series of, topics. Giving talks about topics like renting versus owning, prepping your home for sale, or home-buying are a great way to introduce yourself and your services to a wider audience, connect with potential clients, and add to your list of referrals.
7 Tips for Running a Successful Real Estate Seminar
- Enlist other professionals to round out your offering. Tap trusted loan officers, home inspectors, insurance agents, or closing attorneys to participate as sponsors. This an excellent way to meet other professionals in your area, strengthen existing relationships, and spread out the cost of the event. Make sure you coordinate your roles in the presentation—everyone should agree that this is an educational event, not a sales presentation.
- Schedule your event to maximize participation. Try to keep the event to no longer than an hour and schedule at lunch time or in the evening. If at all possible, offer childcare. Begin marketing your event two to three weeks prior, at most. This gives attendees enough notice, but isn’t so far ahead that they are likely to forget.
- Select a venue that is centrally located. A school or local church are often ideal event locations—and less likely to charge.
- Provide an agenda, but hold off on distributing handouts until the end. You don’t want your audience reading ahead or otherwise distracted. Be sure to let them know that there will be time at the end of the presentation for questions.
- Advertising your event will depend on your budget. You can save the cost of an ad or radio spot by providing both your local newspaper and radio station with a press release detailing the event. Combine your mailing list with the others participating to email invitations. Evite is one way to send a direct invitation online. Use Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites to get the word out. Ask your followers to forward the invite. You can also post announcement at your local grocery store, churches, and other public buildings. With direct invitations, be sure to ask that people RSVP so that you can plan for seating, take away packages, etc.
- The goal of your presentation is to educate and empower your audience. Keep it simple and avoid jargon. Be direct and use as few words per slide as possible. If you have to use acronyms be sure to define them whenever they appear, and use illustrations whenever possible. Provide attendees with concrete examples such as:
- For rent versus buy, use cost comparisons over the life of the mortgage.
- For home-buying, show how the lender determines what you can afford, or the impact of credit ratings on mortgage payments.
- For selling, show photos of effective staging techniques which have been successful for you in the past.
- Give attendees the information they need to make their next move. Be sure everyone leaves with an understanding of the kind of questions they’ll be asked by REALTORS®, loan officers, and others. They should comprehend key milestones in the process and what documentation will be required of them. Don’t sugar coat the process—transparency allows you to present a variety of scenarios to illustrate where the process or communication has a tendency to break down.
Finally, be sure to collect contact information from all attendees and include your contact information, along with copies of the presentation slides. You want attendees to feel like they really learned something from your real estate seminar, and comfortable enough to contact you for their future home-buying or selling needs.