- Have you ever thought of making your clients so happy that they rave to their friends and relatives about the service you provide?
- Have you ever considered focusing on your existing clients rather than beating the bushes for new clients?
- How can you create raving fans so that you grow by referral?
You’ve worked long and hard to acquire your existing clients. They’ve stuck by you through thick and thin and they are your best advocates. But what have you done to show them you care? A birthday and holiday card each year just doesn’t convey the warm, fuzzy feeling that an event can provide.
Mingling with your clients at an event you host provides many opportunities such as increasing engagement, making small talk away from the office, and providing a way for you to meet your clients’ friends and family.
Client appreciation events build trust and credibility with your clients, the ones who have helped you build your practice. What I want for you is a practice composed of only ideal clients – clients who receive first class service, who look forward to your calls, and who willingly and enthusiastically refer you new clients.
First time? If this is your first appreciation event, my recommendation is to keep it simple. Don’t go overboard with either cost or details as you will learn from your first event and apply that knowledge to future events.
Next: After you hold your first event, take your “lessons learned” and plan out events for the next calendar year using your annual marketing calendar.
What type of event could you hold that would thank your clients and attract their friends? What kind of event would foster conversation, deepen relationships, and encourage referrals?
Here are five ideas for engaging client appreciation events:
Idea 1: Wine tasting – There are two types of wine tastings – a formal event where you take part in an actual wine evaluation. These can be loads of fun and a great way to share your love of wine with your clients because you’ll be comparing tasting notes. Here’s a blog post I wrote in 2010 about planning a formal wine tasting. The group size for this type of event should be kept smaller to allow for greater engagement between attendees.
The second type of wine tasting event is very informal. It’s more like a cocktail party where several types of wine are served with appetizers that are finger food nibbles. People mingle with each other or sit casually at tables Since you can invite more people to this type of event, having a 20-minute speaker may work well.
Idea 2: Golf event – There’s something about getting out on the green and shooting little white balls with your buddies that makes this client appreciation event very engaging and entertaining. This type of event is best with 4-10 of your best clients and their friends, 18 holes of golf, and dinner at the clubhouse. Variations could be hiring a golf pro to give lessons before getting out on the course or holding a contest of some sort.
Idea 3: Client coffee – Ask your clients to bring their biggest money questions and provide coffee and pastries either at your office or at an indie coffee shop. There are several nice aspects of client coffees – they’re informal, inexpensive, and fun. Because the environment is relaxed, attendees don’t feel pressured or awkward and are more likely to open up.
Idea 4: Martini and money happy hour event – What I like about happy hour events is that attendees find them fun and alcoholic beverages have a way of loosening tongues to a degree that allows engagement. Martini and money involves a two-hour event where you serve two drinks and answer money related questions. I had a client who held such an event on a regular basis at an upscale hotel lobby bar which was the perfect ambiance.
Idea 5: Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pie Giveaway – This is less an event and more of a real “thank you” to your clients. You can purchase pre-made pumpkin pies and then send out “Happy Thanksgiving cards” that include an insert inviting clients to pick up their pies on a specific date. Just imagine all the goodwill you will create with this kind gesture! And the best part is that very few advisors send out Thanksgiving cards so yours will stand out from the crowd.
There you have it. Five great ideas for client appreciation events that you can use in your marketing plan for the upcoming year. As you can see, client events needn’t break the bank. You can host events for as little as a few hundred dollars all the way up to thousands. The point is to get started.