Why Charge for Seminars?

It’s not that we’re cheap but, well, ok, we are cheap, but we can’t understand the firms who want to make a connection with new and existing clients, and then charge them for the privilege. We don’t mean the dope who takes you out to lunch (where no work is discussed) and then bills you for his time. We’re talking about the “breakfast seminars”, the conference calls, the “webinars” with fancy PowerPoint slides that provide valuable legal updates (and CLE) for existing and potential clients.

Of course there’s a cost. Hotel ballrooms aren’t free, WebEx isn’t free, and of course your time not billing isn’t free. Nearly all marketing has a cost. But consider the value that comes from pitching why you’re the expert to an audience who has chosen to listen to you. These are your potential customers, most of whom have a current need for services in your subject area. My goodness, how much more targeted can you get?

Are these attendees going to hire you on the spot? Not likely. But you’re laying the foundation for future work. You’re establishing “mind share,” as the marketers call it. You’re going to be the person who current and prospectove clients remember (favorably, hopefully) when the next matter comes up.

Compare the 20-page glossy full-color brochure to a one-hour seminar. Assuming your brochure realizes its usual fate (a 30 second shelf life), the seminar wins hands down. Glossy color pages are about $1.50 each (in large quantities). WebEx* is (current retail) $0.33/minute/participant. So, to reach 100 persons, it’s about $3,000 either way. (If you omit the slides, the seminar cost drops significantly.) Only, the brochure gets dumped, has no personal connection, no interactivity, no chance to make a personal connection. No chance for others to hear how smart you really are. Record the audio portion of your presentation, and distribute it on your firm’s website (or through iTunes), and the gift keeps on giving.

Since you don’t send me a bill for the $20 brochure, why do you want to charge me $100 for what could be one of the most effective marketing tools available?

By the way, Deloitte has already figured this out. (Search for Dbreifs if the link doesn’t work.)

* I have no connection to WebEx whatsoever — I chose them for this example because I remembered the name. Hmmm… good marketing?


2 thoughts on “Why Charge for Seminars?

  1. Anonymous

    It is great. It should be noted that the big accounting firms have been way ahead of major law firms in marketing initiatives for many years now. I hope that gap is closing.

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