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Regretfully Declined?

Execute these five steps to improve attendance at your social events.

Advisor-hosted intimate social events, which include a hand-selected group of clients and guests, have been ranked by Oechsli Institute research as a top marketing activity for the past decade. It’s the top event affluent clients will attend, and the top event they’ll bring a guest to. But getting people to attend such events can be a challenge, and the invite must be handled properly.

Such intimate social events have been truly transformative for those advisors who have taken the initiative to master the art. Through our research, we’ve uncovered specific steps that assure good attendance.

Execute these five steps and you will see immediate results:

  1. Get input from your clients. Explain to your clients that you’re going to host a handful of small, social events and you’d like their input on the type of events they might enjoy. This is a key first step. Here is where you get emotional buy-in as you’ve planted the seed that you’ll be inviting them to a social event.   
  2. Pair the right clients to the event. Make certain you pair the right client to an event where they’ve indicated interest. This is a no brainer, but we’ve seen this go off the tracks when advisors skip the first step. How so? An advisor gets an event idea that he or she falls in love with, isn’t really sure about their client’s interests and assumes they’d feel the same.
  3. Personally invite each client. This is the time for a command performance. No delegation allowed. You make the call and sell the event. For example:
    “Matt, you and Sandy indicated you’d be interested in a wine event. Well, next Thursday, we’re holding a wine tasting on wines sold at Aldi for less than $10 a bottle. It’s going to be a blast. By the way, why don’t you bring your colleague Stephen and his wife if they like wine? We’d love to meet them. And the event’s all wine and fun, no business.”
    Rarely can an assistant or junior advisor pull this off. You’re not only inviting a client, you’re setting yourself up for a personal introduction.

  4. Make the headcount call. You’ll make this call about five days after your initial invitation. At this stage, if the guest you want to meet can’t attend, ask your client if some other colleague might enjoy the evening. Regardless, you’ve planted serious emotional seeds of good-will.
  5. Assumptive Confirmation. At this stage, you are assuring attendance. One or two days prior to the event, you call each client and say something along the lines of:
    “We’re looking forward to seeing you and Sandy Thursday night. Tell Sandy we’ve got a special Malbec I think she’s going to love, especially for the price. And we’re really looking forward to meeting Stephen and Heidi.”

This is your third personal phone call and it’s another command performance. Your energy coupled with something personal (Malbec for Sandy) reinforces the emotional connection and seals the deal. Even if a client was thinking of blowing off your event, they’re much more likely to attend after this call.

Matt Oechsli is author of Building a Successful 21st Century Financial Practice: Attracting, Servicing & Retaining Affluent

TAGS: Prospecting
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