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Mark Your Calendar for Success

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As we neared the end of 2011, most of the advisors I work with were not only running annual client reviews, but also reviewing their business structure, revenue stream and marketing plans for 2012. The best way to ensure you meet or even exceed your goals for 2012 is to begin the year with a solid marketing plan based on results gathered from 2011. In short: Run your business like a business.

Based on many of the conversations I’ve had recently, I have learned that a top advisor’s greatest marketing resource is actually his existing client base. However, many advisors’ year-end reviews have revealed that the bulk of their marketing money was spent on seminars for new clients instead of creating a system that allows their biggest fans to introduce them to their friends, family and colleagues.

So the question is how can you develop a plan to capitalize on your greatest resource (your clients) in 2012? It all starts with laying out the calendar to include monthly social events for your clients; yes, social events, not seminars—wine tastings, dessert tastings, cooking classes, gardening events. Create an atmosphere where your clients feel comfortable bringing along a friend or colleague. (By “comfortable,” I mean there should be no fear of your client getting backed into a corner by a sales pitch.)

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Make this happen and you will see astronomical return on investment, as some of my advisors have. Here’s how:

  • Plan. Set up a date with a local venue to create something your clients can look forward to each month. Make it regular so your clients can plan to attend.
  • Create excitement. Reach out to your “A+” and “center of influence” clients to announce your plan. Tell them you want to use the events to stay more closely connected with them and encourage them to bring friends and colleagues.
  • Market the event. Send email invitations monthly through Constant Contact, Mail Chimp, etc. Include information on how to RSVP for the event. Another option, though more expensive, is to send invitations through the mail. Create “save the date” refrigerator magnet with dates for the year’s upcoming events.
  • Capture guest info. Turn prospects into appointments by holding a giveaway at the end of the event. Gather feedback cards with contact info and hold a drawing. You’ll find your clients do most of the “selling” for you as the event gives your clients a reason (and a forum) to brag about you.
  • Track your results. Make sure you follow up on referrals from the events and track how many you are bringing on as clients. This will allow your office to refine the process as you go along.
  • Recap the event. Send out a follow-up email after each event. It’s a good idea to include pictures from the last event showing people having fun. Include an invitation to the next event.

Remember: Your best resource is right at your fingertips. Give your clients a chance to introduce you and watch the sales pour in this year.

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Brad Johnson is the vice president of marketing for Advisors Excel. For more information, go to