Atlanta: “I could kick myself for missing the Braves home opener last night,” groaned Mark as he shook his head in self-disgust, then asking “as the weather’s getting nicer, do you think the Braves would be a good venue for clients?”
If you follow my writings you know how I responded, “Of course!” But Mark’s whining and subsequent question were telling. Yes, he missed the Braves opening game, but only as he began to think out loud in conversation with me did he begin to imagine using the Rites of Spring as part of his Relationship Management – Relationship Marketing Nexus ™.
Our 2013 Affluent Research has informed us that the Gender & Relationship Affluent Macro Shifts have matured into getting social with clients. That of course means intentionally fostering relationships with both spouses. Every affluent metric we measure is strengthened when an advisor begins to socialize with his or her affluent clients.
I don’t know about you, but the spring is my favorite time of year. The days are longer, the weather is warmer, flowers are beginning to bloom and it just makes you want to be outdoors. This past week I’ve been scheduled in the office working on a new book, writing four to five hours a day. That said, on Tuesday and Thursday at 11am a group of cyclists meet and ride for a couple of hours. Being a cyclist, I joined them this week and found myself chatting with two physicians and a business owner. In fact, they talked me into cycling this Saturday in a large fundraiser ride for MS. I just began developing new affluent relationships thanks to the Rites of Spring.
Getting social with clients is a differentiator that elite advisors exploit. They get it. An advisor who’s a cyclist is likely to have a handful of affluent clients that cycle. An advisor who likes to golf is apt to have affluent clients who golf. And the beat goes on, advisors tend to attract clients who have similar interests.
The idea is to capitalize on the uplift that spring tends to bring. As an advisor told me at our recent Rainmaker Retreat, “I’m going to put at least six events on the calendar. That way I’m going to be forced to fill them with clients, prospects, and referral partners.” That’s the thinking of an elite advisor, which in fact, was this advisor’s profile. He conducted intimate social events, but in a more casual manner. He never put three months of social events on the calendar. He’d never before approached getting social with strategic intent; invited specific clients to a specific social venue, asked these clients to bring a specific guest (someone he’d sourced from their spheres-of-influence), and never made both spouses a priority.
He made this commitment and confessional to the entire group attending the retreat. His enthusiasm controlled the narrative to the point where I found myself going over the ‘why, what & how” of the Rites of Spring.
Why? – Not only does socializing with affluent clients strengthen every metric, it increases introductions and referrals three-fold. It makes it so easy for affluent clients to personally introduce you to a colleague or friend in a non-threatening environment. By the way, a personal introduction is the #1 method with which today’s affluent discovered their financial advisor. Which makes it the top affluent marketing activity.
What? If you don’t cycle, obviously you’re not going to ride in an MS fundraiser with a couple of affluent physicians. You need to determine what your clients enjoy doing outside in the spring. Whether it’s Mark taking clients and prospects to Brave games, cookouts in the backyard, golf outings, gardening, or simply going out to dinner at a restaurant that has an outdoor patio – the secret is using the season, the energy that only the spring can produce, to get social.
How? The why and what are worthless to you without the proper execution. Every social activity must be approached with strategic intent (a game plan). Select the social venue and connect the appropriate clients to the venue. Make certain that you include both spouses, so after the golf outing or the MS group ride, you’ve organized lunch or drinks with the spouses. Always source names from your client’s spheres-of-influence, and suggest “Why don’t you invite Stephen and his wife Heidi, it’s going to be a lot of fun, and I’d like to meet them anyway.” The emphasis is to be fun and social – this is all about strengthening client relationships and getting personally introduced in a non-business environment.
This does require planning, but it’s not complicated. The objective is to mix business with pleasure using the wonders of spring as the impetus. The more personal time you spend with your affluent clients, the more personal introductions you’ll receive. This is the secret sauce for marketing to today’s affluent.
Oh, lest I forget – keep openings on your social calendar as the law of reciprocity will be at work. You will find yourself getting invited to social events of your clients and their guests. The Rites of Spring – it’s a wonderful thing!
Matt Oechsli is the author of The Art of Selling to the Affluent. His firm, The Oechsli Institute does ongoing research and coaching for nearly every major financial services firm in the US. To take the first step towards coaching, complete the pre-coaching business profile for a complimentary consultation.