SCOTTSDALE — “I hear you about planning social events for the summer,” stated Roger as he cleared his throat before making his point, “but this is Arizona—it’s 110 degrees in the shade! This place is a ghost town from June through September.”
Roger has a point, but at the same time he’s missing the point. Sure, he’s dealing with a lot of snow birds, much like financial advisors who work in South Florida. Wealthy dual-residence clients tend to migrate to cooler weather during the summer months. However, weather does not prohibit financial advisors from mixing serious business with summer’s pleasures.
How so? Summertime is playtime for the affluent. And fun social events, whether they’re with clients and prospects or COIs are business development accelerators. The reality is that every affluent client and every COI has a different summer routine. Many elite advisors approach the summer as a time to fill the pipeline with affluent prospects. This is why they make it their job to know the summer routines of top clients and COIs. But this requires a mindset that Roger’s struggling with.
To my point, I asked Roger how many of the CPAs working with his top 25 clients lived in the Phoenix-Scottsdale area. Apparently most live in town. I then asked how many of these CPAs remained in the area during the summer. Roger wasn’t sure, but he assumed that aside from vacations, most stayed in Arizona. At that point I asked him if any of his top 25 clients stayed in Scottsdale. He knew of a few who did. Basically, other than migration patterns, Roger knew very little about his clients’ and COIs’ summer routines.
Roger began to get the point. He could plan social events throughout the summer. In fact, he has a golden opportunity to get social with these local COIs who could be a serious source of referrals, during the sweltering Arizona summer. This would require a little creativity, and utilizing early morning and evening venues. But it’s been my experience that these single-residence professionals, stuck in a deserted town, typically jump at the opportunity to have some fun during the dog days of summer.
For financial advisors living in other parts of the country, where summer is the time of vacation not migration, the opportunity to schmooze with top clients, their friends (affluent prospects) and COIs (CPAs, attorneys, etc.) awaits advisors who understand relationship marketing. Like everything else one does well, relationship marketing requires planning.
What prompted this article wasn’t Roger, although he contributed; it was a recent conversation I had with a Barron’s 100 advisor. In less than 10 minutes I was privy to all the events his team had scheduled for the summer. Although this advisor brought in $35 million last year from new clients, he was convinced that his team wasn’t coming close to fully monetizing these events. Our discussion was thus focused on the details of strategic intent. No detail was too minute:
- Who and how to invite (personal phone call selling the event)
- How to confirm attendance (the assumptive confirmation call)
- How to execute the event (connecting with guests without discussing business)
- How to follow up (romancing into the pipeline without coming across as salesy)
On the surface, the difference between this Barron’s advisor and Roger was geography. But when you peeled back the onion, it was a mindset issue. According to the elite advisor:
“I get serious business as the result of the events we hold during the summer. But I know with a bit of guidance, we can improve.”
On the other hand, Roger was writing off the summer months.
So how about it? Let’s start filling your social calendar with summer’s pleasures that involve top clients, COIs and prospects. Summer’s pleasures can take many forms: sporting events, art in the park, concerts in the park, cookouts, pool parties, boating, golf—and the list goes on.
The secret is marrying the right client (COI and prospect) to the right event and approaching each event with strategic intent. This requires you to really know your clients and COIs. When are they going on vacation? Where are they going? When are they in town? What do they like to do? And so on.
We’ve created the Know Your Client worksheet as a tool to gather the necessary personal information and transform these summertime social pleasures into incubators for serious business.
Matt Oechsli is author of Building a Successful 21st Century Financial Practice: Attracting, Servicing & Retaining Affluent Clients. www.oechsli.com