December is fast approaching. The holidays are a time of good cheer. You’ve had a good year. Your clients made this possible. You want to have a long-term relationship with all of them. What could you do over the holidays?
Sending holiday cards seems the obvious choice. You might think in the digital age, paper holiday cards have gone the way of cassette tapes and VHS recorders. You might be surprised. According to a December 2017 CNBC report, 1.5 billion seasonal holiday cards were sent the previous year. The average age of wealth management clients is 64.2 years old, according to McKinsey. Many still send and receive holiday cards.
Here are three guidelines.
1. Thanksgiving. If you want to avoid being caught in the tsunami of holiday cards your client gets in December, try sending a Thanksgiving card instead.
2. Timing is everything. A successful Bay Area manager once explained: “People remember the first card they get each holiday season.” Get yours out shortly after Thanksgiving.
3. Personalization matters. If your card is sent by a service with your name printed inside, it screams “untouched by human hands.” Get all team members to sign each card. Hand address them. Use stamps.
What Else Can I Do?
Obviously you aren’t going to give cash to a client. It screams kickback. The industry has rules regarding the giving and receiving of gifts. Gifts should be nominal. FINRA rule 3220 references $100 as a value. Your firm likely has rules. Here are some ideas.
1. Invite some clients to (your) holiday party. Clients become friends vice versa. If you entertain at home, invite a few clients to attend. Your professional relationship isn’t discussed during the event. They are friends.
This simple act of kindness can have enormous benefits. They may reciprocate by inviting you to their holiday party. You get to meet their friends. This is a good reason to hold your holiday party early in the season.
2. Holiday open house. Here’s another at home event. It works if you are friends with lots of clients. Consider having a noon to 5:00 PM holiday open house at your home. People stop by as they run their errands or on their way to another event. They stay a short while and exchange holiday greetings.
3. Gift to their charity. They have a favorite cause. You are peripherally involved because they transfer gifts of securities. They’ve made the charity an IRA beneficiary. You make a modest charitable contribution in their name.