The more value you bring to a client relationship, the more your client is tied to you, and the more you can deepen that relationship, says Shauna Trainor, marketing manager with the Covenant Group in Toronto.
Your goal is to be the person your client turns to more and more, Trainor says, even if your response is simply to connect the client with another professional.
By engaging with clients outside of the office — and showing gestures of goodwill —you can show that you are invested in your clients’ well-being, eager to strengthen the relationship, and willing to go the extra mile. Client appreciation events are an excellent way to enhance client engagement.
Here are four ways to demonstrate client appreciation:
1. Hold community events
Volunteerism is an increasingly important aspect of many clients’ lives, Trainor says. Your involvement in charitable events shows that you are an active member of the broader community.
Trainor suggests sponsoring a volunteer day for a charity such as Habitat for Humanity, which uses volunteer labour to help build homes for the needy. This type of activity would give clients the opportunity to donate their time and efforts at no personal cost. Other options include promoting and sponsoring involvement in fundraising events such as a charity fun run in support of a local hospital.
2. Celebrate milestones
Trainor has some clients who celebrate a top client’s birthday by asking the client’s spouse to invite a few close friends to join them for a birthday lunch — with the financial advisor footing the bill. This special occasion has the added benefit of allowing the advisor to meet the client’s friends.
Not all gestures need to break the bank. Younger advisors with a tighter budget can make an impact on a client’s entire family by sending over a birthday cake for one of the client’s children. Trainor suggests giving the family notice in advance.
3. Create intimate interactions
Show appreciation on a smaller scale by taking clients out for coffee, lunch or a round of golf. Some advisors are getting creative, finding unconventional activities that fit within their clients’ active and busy lives.
For example, Trainor knows an advisor who invites his clients to group fitness sessions, such as a spin class, followed by refreshments at the juice bar.
4. Conduct a client-engagement survey
“It’s really important to get in touch with the interests of your clients,” Trainor says. In your client questionnaires, Trainor says, be sure to ask about the client’s personal interests. Include categories such as health and fitness, nature, arts and sports. Also, take the opportunity to ask your clients how you can add value through future events and engagements.
“What you’re actively trying to do,” Trainor says, “is build a community with your clients.”
This is the first part in a three-part series on client appreciation.
Next: Planning a client-appreciation event.