Perhaps it was the lack of snow, especially in my neck of the woods but it seems most of us didn’t really fathom the pace at which the holidays are fast approaching. It was only thanks to the team lunches and continuous reminders (to Santa through me) for a new PS4, by my two boys that I have started working on my holiday plans. The plans for my family, my friends, my colleagues, my community and of course my clients !
Now most of these plans involve, hosting dinners, buying gifts, wishing each other or giving back; let’s say the regular agreed upon norm in all of above mentioned cases; all except with the clients. It seems there is always a debate amongst us financial advisers on this one.
We have different opinions on this and each one of those opinions is relevant in its own way, I am sure. Some think they should call their clients to wish, some believe their assistants can call, some like sending emails and some others like sending cards.Yet some others believe, they don’t need to do anything because they are not in retail business. There think there is nothing for them to sell or introduce to clients during holiday season unlike the BIG box store down at the mall. (Oh….. how I wish people gifted investments to each other on during holidays, although I have to admit RESP before the end of year is not such a bad idea)
Being in the industry for this long, I have my own thoughts on this matter and here are the 7 reasons why I think it is of the paramount importance that we should reach out to our clients at this time. I am also a strong believer that we should reach out in a manner that is personal and respectful towards the clients. Writing a personal note by hand and signing the cards will go a long way as compared to a quick generalised, Dear Client email.
- Clients are your friends. These are the people who you talk to most of the time. They are the ones who share almost everything going on in their life with you. These are the people who have put in a great deal of faith and trust in you. As a respect to this bond of client-friendship I believe we must reach out and wish our clients on all joyous occasions and especially in the holiday season.
- They expect to hear from you. Financial planning is not a sales business. It is more of a relationship model and in a relationship there are expectations. Imagine your client getting wishes from his lawyer, his dentist, his accountant and not from you. All of a sudden, it seems someone is taking a relationship for granted which I am sure none of us would like our clients to assume.
- They are worth your time and effort. We might be living in a digital age but nothing makes one happier than receiving a handwritten note. It shows you that someone believes that you are truly important and has made a special effort to appreciate the relationship that you have developed with them. It also shows that you would go an extra yard to keep that relationship going on.
- It is a Social time. This is the time of the year when people meet each other, when they socialize and talk about relevant things happening in their lives. How about sending them this card and reminding them that you are one of the relevant cogs in their life’s wheel. No doubt they will talk to their friends or family about the wonderful advisor that they work with. I am sure making an effort to stand out is definitely something that we all strive for everyday during our working life.
- Your next call will be a happy call. Most of your clients will hear from you in the first two months of the New Year either for a financial check up, RRSP contribution or TFSA top up. The card that you send this month would mean that your next call will invariably begin on a joyous note. How was your holidays and did you receive my card on time? Booking an appointment thereafter would perhaps be a much easier task especially with clients whose last appointment was more than 8 months ago. What’s more is that some clients might call you back to say thanks anyway, and you can book those next appointments there and then.
- It helps you ward off the completion. In the service industry the standards and expectations are always rising. As such you don’t want to give any of your competitors an inch by not raising your game beyond the client’s expectation. Clients appreciate sincere efforts and if they see this effort from someone other than you, the chances are that it is a matter of time before you lose them and their business.
- This is the time to give and APPRECIATE. This is the time of the year when everyone likes to give but also the time when we really value the word “Thanks”. It is with the support of your clients that you have achieved whatever success you have today so why not acknowledge their support and show your appreciation to them in the most humble way at this time of the year.
Written by :-Vic Gill