1. Call all your clients. It’s October. They should get a quarterly review since the third quarter is behind us. You have lots of clients on lots of tiers. Some get home or office visits. Others come in. Others get a phone call. Let them know how they are doing. The Dow set a new all-time high on Monday. It should be a pleasant conversation. This is a good time to ask for more money. (Photo: Shutterstock)
2. When does their bonus arrive? They have no extra money! They are waiting on their annual bonus (or Christmas bonus). When does that come in? You politely frame it by mentioning you have a couple of really good ideas, but you like everything they own and don’t want to sell anything. (This must be true, of course.) These ideas require new money. (Photo: Shutterstock)
3. Year-end tax selling. Let’s not wait until the last minute. This might not be a big deal, but it shows you are paying attention. If you do it early enough, you can get outside the 30-day “wash sale” window and repurchase the stock before year end, if you feel it’s appropriate. (Photo: Shutterstock)
4. Charitable contributions. A huge amount of charitable giving is done at year end. Giving Tuesday follows Cyber Monday after Black Friday. Learn your client’s plans. If the gift is large (because they might have pledged) does donating appreciated stock make sense? They will see you are thinking in their best interests. (Photo: Shutterstock)
5. Is the gift tax an opportunity? The IRS allows people to hand out cash and securities up to $15,000 per recipient without getting into gift tax territory. Lots of parents and grandparents might see this as an opportunity to fund college savings accounts. If they haven’t done it yet for 2019, the clock is ticking. Guess what? They should probably be able to do it again after we enter 2020. Won’t that money need to be put to work? (Photo: Shutterstock)

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6. How about a holiday party? Several earlier articles suggested getting yourself invited to your client’s holiday gatherings. The best way to get the ball rolling is to plan something yourself and invite clients. This might be a client appreciation event. You might buy a block of tickets to a local performance of “The Nutcracker” or “A Christmas Story.” Maybe you have a gathering at your home. You socialize with clients. Face time is always good. (Photo: Shutterstock)
7. Accept every invitation. December might be very busy. Many of those clients who got your invitation will add you to their guest list. Try to be everywhere at once, even if some parties get only a short visit. (Weekends get busy.) Don’t come empty-handed. Meet your client’s family and friends. Ideally, they will introduce you around and praise you. Bring cards, just in case someone asks for one. (Photo: Shutterstock)
8. Mail your holiday cards after Thanksgiving. A manager on the West Coast observed: “People remember the first holiday card they get each season.” You might think paper cards are so “mid-century,” but many people send them! They often get pinned up and displayed! You will get cards back from clients. Maybe some more invitations, too. (Photo: Shutterstock)
9. Client gifts. You probably don’t give gifts to everyone, but you might exchange with some clients. You know the drill. There are rules. You don’t want your gift looking like rebate on fees paid. Edible gifts like cookies and coffee are usually well received. Your client can bring it home or share it at their office. (Photo: Shutterstock)
10. Holiday coverage. Many clients take off between Christmas and New Year’s Day. The financial services business is different. There’s last-minute tax selling and account opening that requires attention. Let clients know when you will be at your desk between the holidays. If they are in “relaxing mode” they may decide it’s a quiet time to call you to discuss serious stuff. (Photo: Shutterstock)

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Is it time to put my business in cruise control? Halloween is over. The days are getting shorter. Thanksgiving follows and then we are in the Christmas season. Your client’s minds are on other things like partying and shopping. Should you join them? Think about business after New Year’s?

In horse racing, the last thing someone placing a bet wants to see is a horse that shows well during the most of the race, then runs out of energy in the final stretch. Don’t let that be you.

How to Finish the Year Strong

The process of investing isn’t measured in years, although performance is presented that way. Things that happened yesterday or overnight influence what the market will do today. It’s like a river, running from one year to the next. This is good news for you. As one of my sales managers told me when I was an advisor, “People who finish the year strong start the new year strong.”

Check out the gallery above for 10 ways to do this.

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