Before I started writing this article, I did a quick Google search on “client appreciation for financial advisors.” Most of what came up was all about client appreciation events, which are very common in the industry. My guess as to why is that advisors hope their clients bring friends with them to the event so the planner can get an introduction for potential new business. This is all fine and good, nothing wrong with hosting appreciation events, but I’m not crazy about them as a way to really show your thanks or differentiate yourself.
Sure, some financial planners may host events that are real blowouts, the kind of “you have GOT to be there” parties that people talk about for months. But most don’t come close to that.
Like gift cards, these appreciation dinners have three main drawbacks. One, they’re not personal. It’s a party for a bunch of people, not in honor of them personally. Two, they require your clients to make an effort. And a majority of your clients are not excited about making any efforts outside of their normal routine. Three, if everyone’s doing them, how then are you so special?
That’s why if you really want to let your clients know you value them, you send them something that requires no effort on their part – a genuine token of thanks that can be enjoyed right away, without sharing, in the privacy of their own home. In case you haven’t noticed, especially in America, people like instant gratification.
A survey done earlier this year of registered investment advisors found that most saw an increase in assets under management, coming from both new and existing clients. So you’ve got lots of new people with whom it would behoove you to strengthen bonds. Additionally, the study revealed almost 25% of advisors expected to increase spending in client appreciation activities. If you’re going to increase spending, don’t you want to make sure you’re doing it effectively?
Here are 3 better ways for financial advisors to reach out to their clients:
1. Handwritten notes – even if your assistant writes them. Send a card to say thanks at a random time, other than a birthday.
2. Gourmet food – people love treats, so send something they’d not likely find or buy for themselves and let them indulge courtesy of you. Food is a very social and nurturing thing; it says, “I care,” which is why it’s received particularly well.
3. Books – do you have a favorite recommendation? Sharing something you enjoy allows your clients to feel a closer relationship and who knows, maybe you’ll introduce them to a new genre or author that they would have never otherwise discovered.
There’s no doubt that building tighter relationships with your clients is essential to the success of your business. Just make sure the money you spend actually accomplishes what you intend.