Our data is clear on the power of relationship building. When you humanize the advisor/client relationship, you tend to deepen loyalty and improve advocacy. We’ve talked a lot about activities like taking clients to lunch, hosting fun events and other ways to get to know each other outside of investments.
One of the simplest ways to give a relationship a “boost” is through a small, thoughtful gift. It shows that you know them and that you care. Nearly every advisor does this, but some do it waaaay better than others. In this article, we’ll share some best practices for improving gift-giving within your practice.
The more you spend, the more likely you are to raise suspicions about your motives. Your goal isn’t to buy their loyalty; it’s to show them that you were thinking about them.
Sending a gift certificate to a steakhouse doesn’t have the same feel as sending a framed article clipping of one of their family members.
Make it Irregular
The degree of irregularity is directly proportional to the degree of surprise. If you send a gift for every birthday or every year around the holidays, it is appreciated, but not nearly as much as one that comes “out of the blue.”
Create a Budget
Set aside a certain dollar amount every month for gifts. This isn’t to limit your spending; it’s to make sure you’re sending enough gifts every month.
Empower Your Team
Talk about gifting as part of every team meeting. Empower your team members to send gifts without even running them by you. Together you’ll source more gift ideas than you ever would alone.
Leverage Social Media
Your clients are posting more often online than ever before. Gifting opportunities abound. If you see a post about a life event or a new hobby, take action and send a small gift.
Focus on Shareable
When you give a client a “shareable” gift, they’ll be inclined to tell others where they got it. You could send a big bottle of wine for a special occasion, a set of minor league tickets or a basket of baked goods for their office.
Most companies spend 80% of marketing dollars on finding new clients and 20% on current clients when they should be doing the exact opposite. Spending money on current clients through small, thoughtful gifts will generate goodwill and stimulate positive word of mouth. What’s the next gift you’ll send?
Stephen Boswell and Kevin Nichols are partners with The Oechsli Institute, a firm that specializes in research and training for the financial services industry. @StephenBoswell @KevinANichols www.oechsli.com