Connecting with Clients during the Holidays

Connecting with Clients during the HolidaysThe holiday season is a great time for you to show your appreciation and thank your clients for their business. Though you should be thanking clients throughout the year, the holiday season is one where a little more can – and should – be done.

To help make the right impression with clients this holiday season, we’ve come up with some traditional and out-of-the-box ideas to spread a little cheer.

Host a Holiday Party. Why not invite your clients to the office for a little holiday cheer? This is a great way to socialize and have your clients get to know your employees and start to develop or deepen relationships.

Personalize Holiday Cards. Forget the standard, one-size-fits-all generic holiday cards you pick up at the Dollar Store. Nothing says “boring” like a cookie cutter card. Instead, take the time to send something personalized. Whether you order a personalized card for each client or opt for a standard card with a hand-written message inside, be sure to hand sign it and add a note of thanks specifically tailored to each client. This simple, yet meaningful, gesture will send the message your clients are worth the extra time.

According to wealthmanagement.com, one UBS advisor estimates he handwrote 700 holiday cards one year for his biggest and most loyal clients — or half of his client list of 1,500 households. His cards generally include a photo he’s taken while traveling in a far-away place or a shot of his team. “We always try to personalize each one,” the advisor said.

Produce a Holiday Video. For something out-of-the-box and memorable, create a video you can email to your clients. Financial adviser Andrew Millard, principal at Millard & Co., a fee-only advisory firm in Tryon, NC, created something special for his clients a few years back. He shot a video of himself and his coworkers singing a holiday song, as the camera pans to others admiring a beautifully decorated tree. He even included fun banter with his coworkers and a cameo by the office mailman wishing Millard Happy Holidays. In 2010, Millard sent his clients a Thanksgiving Day message featuring his then-83-year-old father, Bob. “Videos are an excellent way to personally connect with clients, some of whom live out-of-state,” said Millard.

If you are going to do it, keep videos to no more than 2 minutes and rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. Think about your backdrop and what you want to say. No fancy equipment is needed. Your smartphone camera/video will do the trick.

Send your Gift in Person. Last year Dodgeville, WI-based financial advisor Harry Hellen worked with a local restaurant to produce pecan and pumpkin pies for his clients. Hellen hand-delivered 70 pies to clients before the holiday kicked off.

Chandler Taylor, an advisor with St. Louis-based Monetta Group keeps a tradition which he borrows from his own past, when his kids were growing up in the St. Louis area and participating in the Boy Scouts of America. Each year, the Boy Scouts sell Christmas greens — wreaths and other holiday decorations — in downtown St. Louis. Taylor makes a donation, loads up his car with the decorations, and hand delivers them to 20 of his top clients which live in the greater St. Louis area. He says he does it unannounced, so sometimes they’re not home and he just leaves them on the doorstep with a note. When clients are home it’s a great way to bond. “Sometimes I even get a beer,” he told wealthmanagement.com. He says the fact that it is a donation to the Boy Scouts and the gift isn’t expensive makes clients happy — not to mention, he’s taken time to deliver them himself.

Logo Gifts. While it might be tempting to send a pen with your logo, don’t! Clients appreciate your attention to the smallest details of their portfolio and the same is true for showing your appreciation during the holidays. Personalized logo gifts can go over extremely well if you choose correctly.

Florida-based advisor John Kirby, for example, found a unique gift for his clients – a glass paperweight with a dandelion puff captured within. Each dandelion seed is hand-picked, so no two are exactly alike. The company adds a custom company logo with a message, making the gift extra special.

Gift Baskets. Whether you’re looking to send a single Thank You gift or a hundred, gourmet gift baskets are a great choice. You can select from chocolate gourmet gift baskets, fresh fruit gift baskets, or classic gourmet gift baskets full of cookies, chocolates, and cakes. Have a client that is a wine connoisseur? Indulge his/her taste buds with full flavored gourmet food and wine perfectly paired together. For the golf lover, a basket filled with practical golf gifts like: a golf gift set with a divot tool, ball marker, golf towel, golf balls and tees, and a wide assortment of snacks, cookies, crackers and cheeses will score a hole-in-one.

Subscription Gifts. Why not gift your clients something which gives all year? Subscription gifts are trendy and are the perfect way to show appreciation and stay on your client’s mind. Consider gifting clients with a three-, six- or 12-month subscription. Birchbox sends a monthly delivery of personalized beauty or grooming samples. Dollar Shave Club delivers high-quality razors. Sock101 delivers a professional and stylish sock each month. If you do not have the time to select a gift subscription for each recipient or you have a large number of key relationships to appreciate, consider reaching out to The Ruhlin Group to help make gift giving a little easier. Think of the company as your own personal shopper.

Exclusive Gifts. For larger clients or clients who have been a referral source, it’s a nice gesture to send them a unique and exclusive gift. Matt Armistead of Scottsdale, AZ-based Camelback once sent a client who lives on Long Island and loves to take his boat out, a bell engraved with the name of the boat, which the client attached on the vessel.

Charitable Donation on Behalf of Your Clients.  Giving back feels good and it feels right. Consider making a $25 donation in the names of your clients to their favorite charities.

Don’t be Scrooge this holiday season! Give thanks and show your appreciation. Your clients will love it!

*Please note, all registered persons should check with their compliance department before implementing any of these recommendations.

For more information on Summit Brokerage Services, visit www.joinsummit.com or contact us at (800) 354-5528.

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