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Over the past several years, I’ve deepened my commitment to the personal aspect of advisor-client relationships. Here’s an example: After planning with an exceptionally hard-working single mother for more than 25 years, I wanted to show her the appreciation she deserved. Drawing upon my desire to bring financial planning to a more sentimental level, I created my most successful — and most fun — practice management technique. Today, I throw retirement parties for my clients on a regular basis.

These events not only celebrate clients’ years of hard work, but help widen my network of prospects and build an outstanding reputation within my community. As a way to thank them for their loyalty, we underwrite a party to best suit the client’s tastes and preferences. Venues can range from their place of business or home to their favorite restaurant, and it can be a small, intimate party or accommodate up to 100 guests. I usually give a quick champagne toast on the night of the party to honor my client and to remind him or her of what a pleasure it’s been to be their trusted guide.

Retirement is a monumental occasion, and through wise planning, your client is about to enjoy years of leisure. Orchestrating such a gesture proves to my client’s family and friends that I truly care about not only their finances, but the experience I provide as an advisor. Naturally, guests will question whether or not their own financial planners would go to such lengths for them. Recently, I received two referrals based simply on the fact I cared enough to plan a party in my client’s honor; and the event hasn’t even happened yet!

It is important to note that, although we finance and arrange the gathering, there is absolutely no selling allowed. My client and their guests should feel comfortable and appreciated, without the pressure of business weighing on the atmosphere. This can be a networking event, but it should be treated like any other party you would attend. While some advisors might balk at the cost of such an event, it might just be the best “marketing” dollars you can spend.

For more advice on event-planning and referrals, see:

100 Best Sales & Marketing Ideas Ever

The Client-Appreciation Event: Your New Prospecting Strategy

Turn Prospecting into a Party