Certainly one of the most prevalent ways to thank your clientele for their business and promote new business opportunities for your practice is to host the ever-popular client appreciation event.
We have all hosted enough of these events to know that some are more popular than others. But why is that?
Was it the theme or the outing itself that made it successful?
Each advisor brings a different approach to running events like these; however regardless of the theme of your event, we all generally aim for the same four core outcomes:
- True client appreciation: They remain our clients and we want to thank them for that.
- Relationship building: Strengthening relationships builds trust and facilitates referrals.
- Uncovering opportunities: Getting to know our clients better in informal situations opens many doors to additional asset gathering.
- Avoiding a dud: No one likes showing up to an empty venue; filling the room is a must.
Over the last 20 years I have participated in and observed a number of client appreciation events, and four key elements stood at the core of the most successful events.
1. Make it accommodative. Remember – it’s about them.
Several years ago, I was speaking with one of our advisors who had recently implemented a Client Advisory Council. She was using this council for, among other things, soliciting feedback on how to make her client events even better. She had an older clientele and the feedback she received caught her by complete surprise. She was used to hosting her events in the evening with modest results. When she asked the group what they would prefer, they offered up hosting the meetings in the morning. Taking their advice, the next event she hosted was in the morning and her attendance almost doubled from her previous turnout.
Suggestion: Solicit feedback from your clients not only on what they would like to do but when they would prefer to do it. Adjusting something as simple as the time your event is held can have a significant impact on your turn out.
2. Be sincere.
This may seem to go without saying, but this is the most crucial. Being sincere means the event in question is about thanking your clients for trusting you to be their advisor. Clients may already be leery of your motives for hosting the event, and if you couple this with any mention of ‘shop talk,’ you will justify their skepticism of your true intent for the occasion. Showing genuine appreciation doesn’t have to be overly flowery; it just has to be sincere. So find the way that is most natural and works best for you.
Suggestion: Find a gesture or event theme that genuinely and naturally conveys your heartfelt appreciation.