Financial Advisors: What You Should Be Doing During the Holidays
First things first: Use the Holidays to spend time with friends and family. That’s what you want for your clients; That’s what I want for you. Recharge your batteries, and remember why you’re working so hard: To provide a better life for the people you love.
Besides: The immediate return on investment (ROI) of generic cold calling techniques tends to decline after Thanksgiving. Not that it doesn’t pay off eventually. I’m a hard-core prospector, and I hope you are, too. Smart prospecting always pays off in the long run. But it’ll take a little longer to pay off at the end of the year, because you’ll get a lot of people saying, “call me again after the Holidays.”
So, if you’re going to take some time off to be with the family, the Holidays are as good a time to do it as any!
Then, here are a few more holiday marketing ideas if you’re spending time at the office after all.
#1. Send thank-you greeting cards.
The objective with greeting cards isn’t just to express your gratitude for their business. It’s also to establish and maintain what marketers call top-of-mind presence. Sending a thank-you greeting card to your clients and potential clients is much more likely to accomplish that secondary objective for you.
Don’t use auto-send systems and Internet-based greeting card generators. Hand-write the envelopes, and sign the cards yourself. The envelopes are a great task to delegate to your personal assistant, if you have one. But take the time to sign each card yourself – and add a personalized note in it.
It will be one of the highest ROI-things you do during the Holidays.
#2. Give holiday gifts to your best clients and prospects.
If you’re in your first year as a financial advisor, or if you’re still struggling, you don’t have to go overboard with the holiday gift/premium idea. If you’re a registered rep., FINRA limits your direct gifting to $100 per client, anyway.
One inexpensive gift idea that may set you apart: Identify your clients with children, and send an age-appropriate book to help them learn about money.
I like the children’s book idea for a couple of reasons: 1) They are relatively inexpensive, and 2) they can help you kick the door open to future conversations, such as education planning, life insurance and estate planning.
Also, any book that helps people budget and increase savings and investment is helpful in the long run, because the more they can save and invest, the more is available for you to work with as their advisor.
Kick it up a notch…
Another great thing about books as a gift idea is they can enable you to engage with the client at a higher level. I want you to think more about the client than their money. Here’s an idea: Remember that initial ‘get-to-know you’ conversation you had about their long-term financial goals and aspirations? What’s on their bucket list? If they mentioned wanting to get an RV in retirement and setting off to find America, try a book like Road Trip USA: Cross-Country Adventures on America’s Two-Lane Highways.
Books that encourage couples to look at them together, and talk about their long-term hopes and dreams are going to be the most effective gifts for you. So give each client some thought. And include a hand-written note in the jacket from you.
They won’t forget you.
Not just clients.
Of course, your current clients are the most important. But don’t neglect to reach out to include your major referral partners, your career and personal mentors, your key vendors who make your success possible.
#3. Conduct and follow up on year-end planning appointments
You should have been aggressively contacting clients to fill your calendar in October and again now in early December.
Of course, you know about tax-loss harvesting: Some of your clients will have losing investments to sell to offset capital gains, and that needs to be done by year-end. But you’ve got to introduce the idea early enough for clients to go consult with their tax advisors, and then contact you again to handle the transactions. The time to be reaching out to do that is around October and early November. After Thanksgiving calendars and distractions start piling up, and you’re more likely to fall through the cracks.
Now is the time to follow up with those clients who haven’t set up a year-end planning appointment with you just yet.
Here are some other year-end ideas for you to pick up the phone and talk to people about:
- “Hi, Mr. Small Business Owner: Did you want to establish your small business retirement plan? The deadline is December 31st. How about we get cracking on it?”
- “Hello, Mr. and Mrs. Client! I just wanted to catch you before you did all your holiday shopping… Instead of buying toys and clothes, how do you feel about contributing on a tax advantaged basis to your grandchildren’s college funds?
Notice the language “how do you feel?” That’s deliberate. First, I’m trying to engage them emotionally, not intellectually. Don’t ask “What do you think?” Ask “How do you feel?” You’ll get a less guarded, much more positive result.
Second, it’s an open-ended question. It’ll get them talking.
Also, trust me: Lots of older successful people are disappointed in their own children. But they’re crazy about their grandkids! They’ll want to help.
#4. Sponsor a food drive.
With COVID-19 and the ongoing shutdowns, lots of people are hurting this year. Reach out to your clients – and everyone else you can think of, and let them know that you are sponsoring a food drive. Be active on social media. Put an email campaign around it.
Holiday parties take advanced planning and coordination. And they cost money. But you can put a food drive together pretty quickly, and you don’t need to hire a caterer!
Of course, you’ll accept donations at the office. But here’s the kicker: If your clients are local, you can drive around and pick them up.
Anything that gets you in front of your clients is a good thing. You can do it yourself – and you never know what conversations you can kick off that will benefit your clients while also benefiting your business. If you can’t get to everyone, you can delegate a charismatic staffer help. Invest in a nice polo shirt with your logo on it. Every brand impression helps.
Meanwhile, the effort will help establish your brand as someone who’s active in your community, and help you maintain top-of-mind awareness going into the year-end planning season.