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Annual Client Appreciation Events Are Great, But Your Firm Can Do Better!

An annual client appreciation event is great, but…you can do better than that.  Why wait to say thank you once a year?  One of the most important components of your business plan and strategy is to continue to find ways to strengthen client relationships.  Implementing this practice on a daily basis will set your firm apart from the competition and create an experience for your clients that won’t go unnoticed.

Financial advisors know a rule of thumb asserts, “it costs five times as much to attract a new client as it does to keep an existing one”.  A comprehensive marketing plan will include a client a marketing strategy targeted towards existing clients.  The benefits:

  • Foster, strengthen and maintain relationships with your best clients
  • Increase the percentage of wealth you manage for your clients
  • Generate referrals
  • Defend your position with competitors

In our blog, Foster-Strengthen-Maintain-Relationships Through Client Appreciation Events,   https://aeschlapia.wordpress.com/2012/05/18/foster-strengthen-maintain-relationships-through-client-appreciation-events/  , we reviewed strategies and ideas for holding client appreciation events.  More importantly, let’s not forget the daily acts we can implement in our firms to escalate a continued expression of appreciation for our clients.

Is your firm currently practicing daily and random acts of appreciation with clients?  If not, now is the time to start and if so, how can you take those acts to the next level? 

Implement a client appreciation program by identifying the outcome.

The underlying success of your program hinges on the ability to create an authentic client experience. Client retention starts when your firm recognizes the fact that the client should be acknowledged, thanked and recognized for their loyalty and trust they have placed in your firm.

We all have a natural tendency to take things for granted.  Don’t wait for pivotal moments to appreciate your clients.  By showing daily appreciation to each client that you come in contact with, your firm will stay on the path of acknowledging the benefits each client provides and will cultivate positive thinking in your office.

To have an impact, you and your team must be inspired to say “thank you”, not compelled or with lack of passion.  As you are developing your marketing strategy for 2013, incorporate ways to increase client satisfaction by using gratitude in your firm; e.g implement a Gratitude Project and track your successes.

Ironstone’s Top Ten Ways To-Thank-A Client

  1. Give a proper verbal greeting and farewell.  Use names when you can and ALWAYS thank them for their business.  Greet clients at the door – open the door for them when they leave.
  2. Write a follow up thank you note.  Make sure to hand write the note and let them know you appreciate their business. It provides a personal touch and carries much more meaning than a typed letter.
  3.  Make a phone call.  With technology it is easy to get lazy.  Call clients randomly just to say thank you.
  4. Make clients feel special.  Learn your client’s passions and what makes them excited about life.  People love to engage in conversation about their families, community contributions and their passions.
  5. Give clients a small token.   Have freshly baked cookies in your office or hot chocolate on a cold day.  Clients love token items, stock up on unique gifts that don’t cost a fortune- firm branded pens, pocket calendars, pencils, etc.
  6. Let them know they made your day.  Face it, clients are our bottom line-appreciate any small thing about them each time you see them- and thank them.  Tell them-“Thank you for making my day!”
  7. Introduce your clients.  Give your clients a tour of your office.  Introduce them to other staff.  It will give them an inside look at the operations of your firm and establish connections with other team members.
  8. Host small “fun days”.   Pick a day a month and declare it, “I’m Going To WOW My Clients Day.”  You can choose different themes and plan accordingly.  Keep it simple and fun – your clients won’t forget it and will probably share it with their friends.  (Best practice idea; take a picture of your clients and mail it to them in a few days with a thank you note)
  9. Acknowledge their comments or suggestions.  Let them know how much you appreciate their thoughtfulness and contributions.  Call them or write to them if you implement a suggestion they have shared.   What a great way to say thank you!
  10. Celebrate Life.  Call clients or invite them to lunch or coffee on special occasions; birthday’s, anniversary’s, retirement, etc.

Insist that your team start practicing the art of gratitude.  Be proactive as life happens rather than reactive when it may be too late.  To remain in a client’s mind, your firm needs to be “in front of them” as often as possible.  Your clients are giving you lots of opportunities to stay in their minds – let them know you appreciate them!

“As we express our gratitude we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” ~ John Fitzgerald Kennedy

We are curious!!  What do you do at your firm to show appreciation to your clients?  Let us know!

Follow us as we explore each of Ironstone’s Fundamental 4™!

  • Strategic Planning
  • Business Development
  • Operational Effectiveness
  • The Human Element

 

• Email us at info@ironstonehq.com
• Call our office at 800-917-8020
• Connect with us:


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Passing The Torch – Succession Planning, Part I

Your succession plan is not just a blueprint for retirement, selling your business or a catastrophic continuity plan focused on legal issues and the best price.  This is a plan for long-term sustainability of the firm; a vital strategic process that nurtures and develops rising leaders in order to increase transferability and continue the legacy of the practice.

In our two-part series of succession planning, we will look at:

  • Motivating you to start creating your plan and empowering you to do so with little to no overwhelm in part one
  • An in-depth review of the key factors to succession to guide you through the process of successful implementation

The Succession Strategy

Purposeful planning is essential to the entire succession process and helps build strategies that benefit both the individual and the overall business.  Make sure you involve the right people, invest in the right tools and make the right decisions in order to achieve results.  The following provides an outline of the steps to incorporate in your succession strategy:

  • Evaluate the practice and define practice goals
  • Prepare yourself for transfer
  • Prepare the practice for transfer
  • Choose your successor(s)
  • Focus on development, refinement and planning
  • Prepare your clients for transfer

Common Misconceptions of Succession Planning

What It Is

                              What It Isn’t
 Develop talent to move forward  Identify immediate understudies
 Identify long-term goals  Unchanging firm structure
 Improve readiness/build a team to fit practice  “Back-up” candidates
 Develop large talent pool to fill vacancies  Catastrophic buy/sell agreement

  Overcome Risks and Reap The Benefits

You Don’t Have One

You Have One

 Fear of lost identity/control  Sustainability of the practice
 Fear of mortality/aging  Ongoing supply of well-trained talent
 Potential jeopardy to your family’s financial security  Available resources to aid future needs
 Fear of not finding an acceptable successor  Well-motivated team to continue your legacy
 No financial security for employees and clients  Improve all processes
 Grief over separation from the business  Improve service offerings

 Part II of succession planning will elaborate specifically on each step outlined above.  The actionable developmental steps provided will cover the process from start to finish.

The Tranquil Transition

Successful execution of your plan requires resilient structures, effective processes and dedicated talent in place to carry out the strategies defined above.  Implementation will guarantee the long-term sustainability of your practice that you have worked so hard to ensure.  Keep the following points in mind throughout the transition:

  • Blur the line between incoming and outgoing team members
  • Focus on improving communication
  • Clearly define behavioral steps
  • Utilize evaluation processes for real development of the succession plan

Always Be On The Lookout

Be adaptable to inevitable changes occurring in the practice; evolution not revolution.  There are both challenges and unforeseen changes that have the ability to restrict a good succession plan.

  • Challenges

Compensation for purchasing ownership, share valuation, percentage of equity to transfer, how to share decision making in management, financing new owner’s share purchase and cultural fit.

  • Unforseen Changes

Team roles, clients and most importantly, updating your succession plan during the building and execution stages.

The financial elements of a succession plan are significant, but not all encompassing.  The non-financial aspects influence the success or failure of the plan; they are most harmful if neglected.

The value of extraordinary human capital and robust processes allows evolution to occur evenly and without damage.

Don’t join the 50% of advisors that have not written a succession plan*

Make sure your business is one that others will want.  Develop the next generation of advisors that best fit the practice in order to increase transferability and continue your legacy.  The more indispensable you are, the higher the value your business will be when you leave.

The steps you take to define your succession plan, more specifically processes, clear roles and career paths, are as good for business today as it is tomorrow or10 years from now.  If you didn’t start early, start now!

A successful succession plan embodies a talent development mindset and establishes a performance culture throughout your firm.  If you can visualize the impact of a stellar succession plan, you need Ironstone to help you implement it!    *2012 In Advisor Solutions Succession Plan Study

Ironstone will evaluate your existing succession plan and strategize with you to gain optimal benefits.  If you haven’t implemented a succession plan, we will collaborate with you to develop a comprehensive plan.  We specialize in identifying gaps in your existing plan and will collaborate with you to develop solutions that are parallel in achieving the results your desire.

We are curious!!  Have you developed your succession plan?   Let us know!

Follow us as we explore each of Ironstone’s Fundamental 4™!

  • Strategic Planning
  • Business Development
  • Operational Effectiveness
  • The Human Element

Coming up next, learn about Business Development and Client Appreciation!

• Email us at info@ironstonehq.com
• Call our office at 800-917-8020
• Connect with us: