One of the best ways to grow your financial advisory business is through your existing client base in the form of referrals.
If you're looking to keep your current clients engaged and fuel excitement in your best prospects, consider hosting a client appreciation event.
Client appreciation events provide an opportunity to strengthen your relationships with existing clients while providing a non-committal environment for prospects to get to know you.
They also provide a ton of value for your clients, as they can enjoy the type of event that you have planned, network with others, and feel even more connected with you.
After all, this is your way of letting them know you appreciate their business.
These events create the perfect opportunity for generating referral business from your most loyal customer base, if you plan a truly thrilling event where your clients feel so excited that they invite family members and friends!
Read on for some key tips on making the event a success, including selecting the right type of event for your client demographics.
Best Practices To Make Your Client Appreciation Event A Success
1. Open Invitation
This is a big one.
Being able (and encouraged) to bring family members, a significant other, or a friend makes the event more comfortable for your client and, depending on the type of event, ensures that those with children don’t need to find a sitter.
Plus, these guests are extensions of your target market and could be potential new leads!
People buy and work with those they trust, and clients acquired through referrals have a 37% higher retention rate, so this is an opportunity you don't want to lose while growing your network.
2. It's Not The Time To Sell
While you will be meeting new people and handing out business cards, this is not the time to sell your services.
Instead, focus on getting to know your clients better and forming new relationships with the guests they bring.
Show a more personal side of yourself by sharing your interests and hobbies, introduce clients with similar interests to each other, and continue to find elements of connection in those ways.
That being said, ensure you do have plenty of business cards on hand and leave a stack in a visible place. People like to do business with people they like, so if you leave a good first impression, that stack will likely disappear!
3. Mingle, Mingle, Mingle!
Take the time to say hello to everyone and thank them for coming.
Don’t spend too much time with one person.
It could leave a bad impression on other guests who would like to get to know you, or make them feel like your relationship with them isn't as valuable.
Also, it reduces the amount of time you have to make all of the introductions you need to be making.
After all, 84% of customers say they’re more likely to work with businesses that treat them like a person, not a number. So it's important make the effort to ensure that each guest feels recognized and appreciated for attending.
4. Know Your Target Audience
The key to throwing a successful event is hosting a get-together that the majority of your existing clients would enjoy and want to attend.
But how do you discover what your clients would like to do?
Consider your clients’ demographics closely, including what type of activities or hobbies they may enjoy.
If you've made special notes about the lifestyle and interests of your clients as you onboarded them, now's the time to review!
A few extra questions you can ask yourself as you plan for a client appreciation event are:
- Are they mostly young families or close to retirement?
- Would they appreciate an event they can bring their children to?
- Do a large number of them have similar hobbies like golfing or skiing?
6 Ideas For Your Next Client Appreciation Event
1. Host a Golf Clinic
Knowing your client’s hobbies is key in organizing a specialized event like this one.
If the majority of your clients aren't interested in golf, then this will not be worth the time, effort and expense to host. However, if your clients enjoy golf, then this event would be sure to impress!
Not to mention that if employees at the golf course are looking for a financial advisor, you could leave a few business cards with them as well.
Depending on the size of your client base, you may also consider hosting a golf tournament. If you're looking for something a little more intimate, perhaps invite 2 clients and their guests for a tee time.
2. Attend A Local Sports Event
This event is suitable for a range of ages and can be personalized to the interests of your client demographics, depending on the sport or the team that they collectively are more interested in.
It can get a little pricey, but if more than one of your clients is a die-hard fan of the same team, then it can definitely be worth your time and money to host.
With this type of event, your clients would be much more likely to bring family members and friends, increasing your odds to meet new potential clients.
You could reserve a section in a stadium, or a box at a hockey game, provide refreshments and spend the game networking and cheering on your local team!
3. Dinner & Wine-Tasting Event
A classic! And for good reason.
Plan a classy evening at a local restaurant or winery to impress your clients. Dress it up, or set a theme for the party to generate extra excitement around the event.
This type of event can get expensive, so perhaps segment your client base to a more intimate group that are wine connoisseurs, set the guest limit to plus one only, or even invite high net-worth clients only to see the most return.
To drive relationships with your clients even further, take note of what wine your clients really enjoyed, and send them a bottle of wine on their birthday or to celebrate a special occasion.
4. Book A Night At The Brewery
Given the popularity of breweries in recent years, and if your client base wouldn't enjoy a glass of wine as much as they would a craft beer, consider booking a brewery for the evening!
This can be a more affordable option when compared to a dinner and wine-tasting event, it can also be a lot more low-key and casual.
You could provide pub food or appetizers with flights of beer for all attendees as you work the room.
There could also be an opportunity to negotiate price, as you could be bringing in new clientele for the brewery as well.
5. Family Friendly BBQ & Ice Cream
A favourite summertime activity that can be fun for the whole family!
You can tailor this event to a client base with children and grandchildren.
You could select a location close to a playground or even rent a bouncy castle to keep the kids entertained while freeing up the adults to socialize with one another.
You could also consider bringing in a food truck instead of barbecuing, or you could even bring in a specialty dessert food truck to really entice attendance for the event.
6. Zoom Game Night
Let's not forget all of the changes we've had to make to our in-person networking over the last few years.
You may have seen the major changes in the industry as an opportunity to drive your relationships digitally and expand your client base beyond your local area, thanks to tools like zoom, automated calendar scheduling, and more.
If you have expanded your client base beyond just your local area, you can still host a client appreciation event, and you won't have to fly your clients out for it.
Instead of using zoom to host client meetings, use it to host a game night or trivia night! You can incentivize attendance by offering prizes for winners, and network with clients and their families in breakout rooms.
This is also a great opportunity to impress your clients with all of the different locations you service.
Bonus Tips For Planning A Client Appreciation Event
Here are some bonus tips to ensure that you set yourself up for success when planning your client appreciation event:
- Ensure that you plan well in advance (8 weeks at least) so that you have time to secure a location, send out invites in a timely manner, and have the chance to remind and confirm attendance with your invited clients.
- Mention your event a couple of times in addition to the invites; for example, provide a quick reminder at the end of client meetings or include a note in your email signature leading up to the event.
- The best way to show you care about each client's attendance is to pick up the phone and give them a call or text to check that they received their invite and confirm they can make it.
Now you should be feeling ready and inspired to plan your own client appreciation event and secure more referrals for your financial advisory business in the years to come!