Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Adaptable materials in the
ORRA Foreclosure Prevention Workshop Toolkit
make it easy to plan a consumer workshop on any topic
By Theodora Uniken Venema
Fellow REALTORS®, look at all our tools!
Did you know that the ORRA website houses all of the tools we need to host a foreclosure-prevention workshop? And that while the contents of the ORRA Foreclosure Prevention Workshop Toolkit are invaluable for their intended purpose, we can modify these existing tools and use them to create our own workshop, in our own area, on our own topic of expertise, and for our own existing or potential customers?
I suggest you pull up the ORRA Foreclosure Prevention Workshop Toolkit and take a look at the materials, right now. A workshop of your own may be in your future!
Topic Selection and Pre-planning
If you are like many of us who have experience in a particular specialty and know that experience could help all your customers, then plan a workshop to share your knowledge about that topic. Materials in the toolkit make it easier! Pick a date and secure a location, and then promote your event. It’s an opportunity to show what you’re made of.
You can also take the opposite approach: pick an audience type that you want serve (for example, first-time homebuyers), then select and promote a related topic that will draw individuals fitting that audience type.
Depending on your topic, consider inviting fellow REALTORS® or other real estate service providers to serve as speakers or panelists at your workshop. Offering speakers — in addition to you — who are knowledgeable on the workshop’s topic will validate the workshop as informational rather than promotional. The additional experts will expand the program, increase the knowledge level, and help fill a two- to three-hour time slot. You can also consider offering attendees opportunities for one-on-one counseling with the experts after the presentation.
If you are like me, you’ve heard clients ask the same questions over and over. Use those questions to refine a topic and create an interest-getting flier. The toolkit provides an example of a flier (permanent graphics prevent this example from serving as a changeable template). Base your own flier on the example but use your workshop’s information, list your speakers and topics, and brand with your name and company logo. Make both hard copies of your flier and an online version available to potential attendees.
Next you’ll need a marketing plan, a sample of which is also included in the ORRA Foreclosure Prevention Workshop Toolkit. It walks you through options including press releases and advisories, e-newsletters, social media, and even direct distribution channels such as homeowner associations, churches, and libraries. Think of the power you have to spread your knowledge.
Agenda - Have copies of the workshop’s agenda ready to pass out as attendees register, so that they know what to expect. There’s a template in the toolkit; the exercise of creating an agenda (be sure to do it way before the day of the event) will help you spot gaps in logistics.
Registration Form - You’ll want to utilize registration forms that attendees fill out as soon as they arrive at your workshop. The forms will capture information such as how they heard about the workshop. Customize the toolkit’s registration form so that it fits your topic, and brand it with your own logo and company name.
Attendee Questionnaire - You’ll also want to utilize an attendee questionnaire (template available in the toolkit) to collect audience demographics, which will help you determine their needs and interests. Again, customize the questionnaire available in the toolkit with your workshop’s specifics and your own branding.
Question Slip - Many people are reluctant to ask sensitive, personal questions in front of an audience. Provide them with the opportunity to submit their questions in writing! Offer slips of paper on which they can write their questions and either submit for answering by the speakers or panelists or request a personal call from you. Be sure to provide space for their contact information (so you can capture the lead and follow up on the question), and include your own contact information on the slip in case they want to take it home and call you later. Was there a question that came up again and again? There’s the topic for your next workshop!
Resource Handout - Finally, support your current and future customers by providing them with a handout of resources related to your topic. There is a foreclosure-related resource handout in the toolkit that you can look at as an example. Adapt the template by replacing the existing resources with those related to your particular topic, and be sure to include your own contact information and branding. When your workshop attendees are ready, they won’t think twice before they pick up the phone and call you for help!
Theodora Uniken Venema, Downtown Brokers LLC, is a member of the ORRA Market Diversity Subcommittee. She can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.