Who Do You Love?

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Client appreciation events—they either elicit fond memories of good times or make you cringe at the thought of shelling out big bucks and delving into the daunting world of events planning. In my very unscientific poll of a few planners, I’ve found two distinct camps: believers and detractors. And perhaps detractors is not the best word here … it’s simply that some planners don’t hold client appreciation events and they don’t seem interested in starting them any time soon. Who has the time or money for that? Especially now.

Marketing expert Kristen Luke of Wealth Management Marketing writes in the cover story of the November/December issue of Practice Management Solutions that waiting to start your first client appreciation event until the economy turns around may mean a missed opportunity to show your appreciation when it means the most to your clients.

And fear not; client appreciation events don’t have to be pricy. Host just a few clients to a round of golf or invite a handful of clients to your place for a home-cooked meal, Luke suggests. The intimacy of smaller events could be advantageous, since you may not be able to personally connect with all clients at larger events. Remember: the ultimate goal is to show your appreciation and remind clients that they come first.

In her article, Luke offers a list of benefits and pitfalls of client appreciation events for those of you who are on the fence. And if you decide to give it a go, she also provides six key areas to focus on to help ensure the event is a success.

For me, the most compelling piece of her article is the simple reminder of the general rule of thumb that it costs five times as much to attract a new client as it does to keep an existing one. And even though most planning firms inherently know this to be true, most spend significantly more resources on new prospects than on existing clients. As Luke says, making prospects the priority can be a costly mistake if existing clients are slipping out the back door.

Carly Schulaka
Managing Editor
Practice Management Solutions
Financial Planning Association
Denver, CO

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