The article from Hinckley and Rugby Building Society’s Carolyn Thornley-Yates included some valid points which have perhaps not previously been considered due to the focus on ensuring an advisers’ experience is as good as it can be.
It is important to make a distinction between industry trade exhibitions such as the Financial Services Expo, network events which are often compulsory for appointed representatives to attend, and club events (such as our own) where directly authorised firms more often than not have no obligation to attend and have not paid to do so.
All of the above have varying formats and different aims, as well as different associated costs for involvement.
We don’t have any exhibition element to our events, preferring a more focused approach to maximise adviser (and lender or provider) experience according to what they’d like to achieve.
All events have 30-minute roundtable sessions which allow advisers to spend valuable time with the business development manager or representative.
We’ve found these are popular with attendees and presenters and usually facilitate new or develop existing business relationships.
Our experience of the Financial Services Expo events has been that if you want people to visit your stand, you’ve got to work to catch their attention, and just pitching up on the day isn’t enough.
But hard work does pay off – we have invested heavily to maximise our impact at these and have been hugely successful as a result.
It is refreshing to hear that Hinckley and Rugby do their research on attendees prior to events, allowing them to tailor their conversations and maximise the adviser experience; not all lenders do this and it would be great to see more following suit.
There are of course data protection obligations that a club or network may have surrounding the sharing of adviser data before and after an event, and they may wish to protect their members from what could arguably be unsolicited marketing.
At Paradigm we always ask advisers for their permission for us to share their contact information following our events and therefore are able to do so in a timely manner for all of those who consent. Nevertheless, I feel strongly that protecting and attributing value to an intermediary’s data and therefore only sharing it where relevant and necessary is important – and is certainly appreciated by our members.
It is undoubtedly a shame to have poor attendance overall (believe me we are always disappointed if this happens) when both time and money have been spent on an event.
However, it would also be remiss not to mention that of course there are always going to be drop outs on the day of any event, regardless of how hard the event organisers work.
Overall, we are always challenging ourselves to find new and innovative ways to engage with intermediaries and ultimately help them write more business across the board.
I welcome Carolyn’s comments and hope we can continue to add value to lender and intermediary relationships via our events.
Last week’s star letter came from Des Platt who said that it could be a help to have met lenders at trade shows before working with them.