Every year, I meet with a study group of six other wealth advisors and we talk about what’s currently working and not working in our practices. Our group gathers together annually and has conference calls monthly. We have a blast together, hanging out and goofing off, but we also work. We share everything with each other, including our tax returns and balance sheets, if appropriate.
We all agreed that seminars are not working the way they used to. American investors are not as eager to come to a free seminar, eat a juicy steak and learn something that will help them make smarter decisions with their money. Don’t get me wrong — seminars still work — but they are not quite as effective as they were 15 years ago. We talked a lot about what is working in our practices to attract new clients.
Some study group members have client advisory boards comprised of approximately 10 clients representing a cross-section of their ideal clients. These advisory boards have consistently suggested that we host activities that are fun in order to attract their friends. Imagine that! We can have fun in our business as we attract and retain great clients!
After hours of discussion at our annual meeting, our study group came up with the following effective ways to grow your business in 2012.
- Take care of your existing clients. In order to exceed your clients’ expectations, your office staff or team needs to be totally client-centered. Promise a lot and deliver more. Serve them in a selfless and loving way. Do what you say, finish what you start and say “please” and “thank you.”1
- Hold special client events. Hold an annual Forecasting Event, Half-Time Report and Holiday Brunch for clients and friends.2 These events are set up to let clients know what the experts are forecasting for the upcoming year and how accurate they have been in their predictions over time. You can bring in speakers such as CPAs, attorneys and portfolio managers to forecast the economy and give tax or estate planning updates.
- Have passion2 events. Maybe you love to golf, cook or fish. Whatever your passions are, you can design events around them. You can also survey clients and create events around their passions. Let’s assume you love to golf. You could host a golf clinic3 to help clients with their putting, chipping and full swing. Hire three golf pros to each conduct a breakout on these skills. Invite clients to improve their game. Break them into three groups and rotate them through the workshops. Maybe you love to cook. Why not hire a chef to teach cooking classes to clients who are interested? If you love to fish, you could hire a fishing guide to take small groups of clients out to fly fish, bass fish on a river or trout fish on a lake.
- Celebrate the best of your region. We live on the Mississippi River, so river cruises are a natural way to bring people together for some fun and adventure. Having clients bring family members and friends for this outdoor event cements current client relationships and provides an easy introduction to others who may benefit from your services. What special events does your region offer that you and your clients could celebrate?
- Host charitable events. Maybe you could get behind a charitable golf event or start your own. What event could you promote to show your support? You could teach a Junior Achievement high school economics class. Helping students with financial literacy education is a great way to get involved in your community in an important way, teaching the next generation how to better handle our country’s wealth.
- Random acts of kindness. Consider having someone in your office in charge of giving gifts to clients who are in the hospital, celebrating an anniversary or having a baby or new grandchild. Sending flowers or a fruit basket can show them how much you care. Buy boxes of books or DVDs that can be handed out with your card glued to the front. Consider giving away a book or DVD, such as “The Ultimate Gift”4 or “True Wealth.”5
- Know the condition of your flocks. Know your clients better by asking them how you can improve your service. Survey them about how you are doing, what they appreciate about your services and inquire about their personal preferences. Give away a box of steaks through a drawing to reward those who participated in the survey.
Seminars may not be dead, but somewhat comatose right now. Why not hold other special events that foster your relationship with clients, their families and their friends? Why not have fun doing it?