How to Host Lunch & Learns

Organizing “brown bag” sessions are a great opportunity to get and retain realtors, brokers and referral sources attention. Often lunch and learns are carried out to train teams, discuss industry hot topics or take part in educational discussions. For loan officers, lunch and learns are made to broaden their network, reconnect with prospects or referral sources and positively reinforce their image as an active collaborator in the community.
But drawing the attention of this particularly bustling audience is not a cushy job. Loan officers must understand there is plenty of competition out there and they will need to make an effort to stand out. For example, they could offer promotional products at the end of the event so the message sticks in the attendance mind for a while longer.
But additional to exchanging cards at the end of the meeting, there are several useful tips to organize and host successful Lunch and Learns.

Set a goal

It is important to communicate the goal beforehand to the attendance, so they can wrap their heads around the topic, create expectations, bring questions and participate in it. Expectations may sound like an ntimidating word - people with expectations are prompt to get disappointed. But that won’t be the case as long as loan officers prepare the presentation thoroughly.
Remember that there is only 25-30 minutes top available for the event. Hence, the information must be exhibited in a digestible matter. A visually friendly presentation with keywords, links, and references helps to leave an strong statement about what is discussed.
Offer to send the presentation at the end of the lunch through email help to keep the audience
focused on the show.

Choose the attendance wisely

It is understandable why there may be a temptation to extend the invitation far and near. But narrowing the audience helps to personalize more the experience of the attendants.
The audience invited to assist must be hungry to learn about the subject matter, in that way loan officers ensure active involvement during the presentation. They must offer exclusive insights about the financial market that can potentially help, for example, brokers and realtors, to give a better service and close more deals.

Treat the topic candidly

Lunch and learns shouldn't be mistaken for a sales pitch. Loan officers could mention their services, but they should keep in mind the audience is not there to buy anything. Their assistance should be attributed to their interest to get insights about the market.
Consequently, if they are initially driven to the lunch to understand, for example, principles of lean management and customer service, the presentation should be limited to those topics.

Make a final assessment

For closing, make observations about findings, trends or anything that could be applicable to improve business. The more practical the advice the better - realtors and brokers are always hunting for ways to optimize time to land clients, smooth the sales process and get referrals from clients.

Craft a follow-up email

The follow-up email must include key insights about the presentation and if possible the visual material displayed during the lunch. It should include a call-to-action in the message - something that compels recipients to ask questions, a bit of advice or overall get in contact again with the loan officer.
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