Archive for the ‘Client Service & Practice Management’ Category

Client Categories and Segmentation

October 26, 2016

segment

You’ve probably heard a great deal about “segmenting” your clients, meaning to divide them into different groups. Doing this can help make your contact with these individuals count, and improve relationship nurturing.

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Contact Strategies – Building an Effective Client Contact Campaign

October 19, 2016

How to develop and execute a powerful client communication strategy to maintain and grow your financial services practice.

How often are you in communication with your clients? Three or four times a year? What about prospects … do you contact them once or twice and that’s it? If so, you are not keeping up the kind of contact campaign you probably should be. Further, you could be missing out on client generation and income potential.

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Holiday Cards

October 12, 2016

Holiday Card

Holiday cards are likely on your to-do list for the coming months. You probably make several connections with your clients through the year, but next to sending them a birthday card, this is the big one. As such, remember that sending a holiday card is always a personal gesture, one done out of kindness and in good spirits. So get involved and make it a reflection of you and the relationship that you have with your clients and business connections.

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What Do Millennials Want?

September 28, 2016

MarketingPro - What do Millenials Want

The mystery of how to direct your business to the so-called “millennials,” the first adults of the 21st century, continues. While every new generation means a new rulebook, finding the path is complicated by new technology and changing social attitudes. Here are three easy tips for attracting and maintaining a presence in their lives.

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Boundaries with Clients

August 3, 2016

Bride And Groom Celebrating With Guests At Reception

If you’re holding client appreciation events, it goes without saying that you’ll be inviting your clients. But how often should you invite clients to your own personal events? And how often should you accept invitations to their events? Are weddings, birthdays, and holiday gatherings an appropriate place to celebrate alongside your clients? You want to distinguish your time from client time. Chances are that many of your clients may feel awkward or out of place at an event you are sharing with your family and loved ones. The same goes for you attending their event.

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Book Talk

March 14, 2016

Talking about what you’ve been reading is a great way to start a conversation via social media. Here are some pointers for bringing up the books that you’re reading via Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

  • What kinds of books?
    It shouldn’t surprise people that you might talk about books that relate to your industry. There are many books about retirement, finances, investing, and lifestyles which are related to your services. Your job is to find the books that are interesting, entertaining, and most relevant to your followers.
  • Talk back to the reviewers.
    Find reviews of the books you’re reading and share them, with a brief summary of where you agree or disagree with the reviewer. Avoid user reviews, i.e. the product reviews you find on Amazon. Favor reviews posted by traditional media. YouTube videos of conversations with the author are also a great resource.
  • But what if I’m reading?
    An award-winning novel? A mystery? The latest biography? History? Not everything you talk about has to be relevant. In fact, mixing it up is a good thing; it shows people that you’re well-rounded, and it keeps them paying attention when you’re doing something related to your business.
  • Know your community.
    There are certain books that you might not want to discuss. I’m not just talking “adult situations” here; there are a number of books, even those related to financial matters, which take political and religious points of view. A good rule of thumb when sharing about a book is to ask yourself: Who am I excluding when I’m talking about this book? You know your community best, so put that knowledge into practice.
  • Keep it lively, but respectful.
    If you’re a reader, this is a great way to connect with well-informed, educated people within your community. It might lead to meet-ups, book clubs… whatever you have the bandwidth to take part in. Just remember that people do get excited about topics they are passionate about. By keeping a friendly tone, you can show leadership by maintaining the cool even when folks get passionate or argumentative. This leadership will earn respect and, in the long run, win you business.

Reaching Out To Millennials

February 15, 2016

The current generation of young adults, the Millennials (people born between 1981-1996), are often seen as something of a riddle to their elders. When you consider that these young people have grown up in a wildly different world than even the generation before them, with so many notable technological and social differences, it’s easy to see why anyone might shrug their shoulders and ask “How do I get their attention?”

Fitness Clubs: Roughly one in five Millennials use a gym or exercise regularly. Maybe you should consider partnering with a local gym to offer discount group memberships. Or perhaps look into hiking and biking excursions. You likely have a natural area just right for this sort of outing somewhere nearby.1

LAN Parties: Millennials consume media like crazy. Some polls have them playing video games more than watching movies and sports combined. A LAN Party is where you gather a number of people with game consoles, laptops, and other platforms to take part in playing multiplayer video games. Normally attendees bring their own gaming console, but you may want to rent or borrow a device or two, just in case. Have lots of snack food available… these parties can go all weekend. Be sure to offer more than just the LAN Party as a diversion; even the most dedicated gamer needs a break! If you have an office, host it in your conference room, maybe on a weekend that coincides with a prominent game release. Do a short, 15-20 minute presentation before gaming begins. Now you have a number of young people with disposable income who know where your office is and what services you provide. You probably have one or two gamers on your staff or maybe in your family who can help advise and supervise the event.2,3

Student Debt Counselling: There is $1.2 Trillion dollars of student loan debt in the United States. You better believe that’s on the mind of a number of new college graduates. Bring in a guest speaker who talks about how to lower payments, and/or strategizes on how to resolve these burdens quickly and efficiently. You’ll probably get a number of Gen Xers and Baby Boomers in the mix, as well, as student debt is not merely a problem for the young.4

Social Media: Of course, most Millennials use some form of social media. If you aren’t already using Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, get on that immediately, if your compliance allows. Also, keep in mind that Marketing.Pro offers compliance-approved social media content every week (text posts as well as image posts.) It also offers the option to automated social media campaigns. Regular posting shows that you are in touch and easily accessible, part of their neighborhood.

1-marketingcharts.com/television/what-do-millennials-like-to-do-with-their-free-time-29750/
2-entrepreneur.com/article/238294
3-wikihow.com/Host-a-LAN-Party
4-cnbc.com/2015/06/15/the-high-economic-and-social-costs-of-student-loan-debt.html

Keeping Your Client Appreciation Events Interesting for Everyone

October 19, 2015

There is an unwritten social rule that we should be inclusive whenever possible. It’s important, then, to select events that will be interesting and compelling to the majority of your clients. Here are some tips for planning events with the widest audience in mind:

Ask Questions – This isn’t Perry Mason; nobody’s going to yell at you for asking leading questions. You should be taking the time to get to know your clients, anyway, with questions like “Do you (and your spouse) golf?”

Tip Your Hand – The easiest way to gauge interest is to just let the clients know what you are planning. “I’m thinking of having a skybox event at an NBA game this year and I want to know who’s interested. Does your family like basketball?” If they are in love with the idea, you’ll find out.

Vary Your Events – While you might do an annual Holiday party, avoid having the same event calendar every single year. For example: shredding parties are popular, but if you had one last year, you might not have as much enthusiasm another other this year.

We All Have Different Tastes – Of course many women love sporting events and many men enjoy the theater, but too much of one type of event might leave one spouse cold. Remember that you are cultivating a professional relationship with both partners.

Five Referral Secrets

January 28, 2014

Referrals can be so important to your practice. If you’re not sure how to get them, or what to do once you have them, hopefully these tips can help. If you’ve had a little experience in this area, this may be a good refresher for you. I’m labeling this a list of referral “secrets,” but the truth is that once you make them your practice, you’ll think of them as common sense.

Leaders Don’t Have to Ask for Referrals
Don’t be the person who confuses “leadership” with being arrogant. You likely had someone in some aspect of your life who you’ve looked up to as a trailblazer and a leader; they led by being an example and by becoming a hub for professional activity. Organizing groups, events, and being the sort of professional with a reputation for bringing people together is the sort of thing that will cause your colleagues to want to make referrals to you, unsolicited, because getting people in touch with you will make them seem connected and important by extension.

Follow Up the Next Day
Would you buy fresh bread, leave it untouched on the counter for a few days, and be shocked to find it growing stale or moldy? Referrals don’t stay fresh forever, either. Strike while the iron is hot. Following up quickly shows that you value your referrals and that you’re attentive when it comes to building business. The referral will see that you’re on task, and the person who gave you the referral will appreciate your attentiveness. Don’t leave it on the shelf!

Remember… Referrals Are People
Don’t give your colleague a name and number on a slip of paper. When giving a referral, you’re making an introduction between two people, so be sure to have information about that person handy to replay to your colleague. Inform them about their family, their professional life, and their interests. Conversely, when you get a referral, be full of questions about this person; ask anything you might want to know. Everyone has a story, and part of your job is to learn that tale.

Closing “Tricks” are for Amateurs
You might see the blogs and videos online with so-called business gurus offering you the sort of “Jedi Mind Tricks” designed to turn a referral into a business contact. Far be it from me to argue with success, but this sort of thing feels like a hollow victory, and more than a little disrespectful. Your business is in people, not symbols on a spreadsheet. Build your business on substantive human interactions and integrity rather than flimflam and illusions. There’s a reason stage magicians “retire” their tricks after a while; people figure them out and get tired of seeing them.

Ask Questions
I think this is a good tip for life in general, not just in dealing with referrals. Building any kind of relationship requires personal knowledge. Make it your goal in every conversation to learn something new.

Holiday Client Appreciation Event Ideas

November 20, 2013

In my previous blog post, I spoke to you about Client Appreciation Events and I mentioned Holiday-themed CAEs. Here are some more ideas for these events as you begin planning.

Traditional: Your clients and prospects will really appreciate a full-on holiday experience. If you have the resources, make the event seem like a Christmas card come to life. If you get snow in your part of the world, sleigh rides are unforgettable. Carolers in traditional Victorian garb give everyone a warm feeling, like the Charles Dickens story come to life. Even hiring a bus or limousine service to take everyone on a tour of the local Christmas lights after dinner can be a fun and enjoyable experience.

Let’s get out of the house: While winter’s a time for cozy homebody comforts, it’s also the middle of two major sports seasons. Think about a suite with your nearest NBA or NHL franchise. Or maybe a ski trip is more in line with your clients’ active lifestyles. Even renting a movie theater for a special screening of the latest blockbuster or a family favorite can be a nice surprise for everyone.

Honor everyone during the holidays: You should know your clients well enough to understand their various traditions and backgrounds… so introducing themes from several holidays to your event can make for an even more engaging and poignant evening, even for those who don’t share those traditions. You want to make sure everyone is recognized and honored, and that means more than just putting some inexpensive religious or spiritual objects/symbols in a corner… take time to learn the traditional greetings for each holiday your clients and prospects observe, and research their traditional foods and customs. If you’re based in a larger city, this is an absolute must, and it may prove easier than you think.

Food, glorious food: Regardless of what route you take, make sure that a quality meal is part of the event. Don’t be afraid to get creative and leave an impression. Remember that presentation is just as important as flavor, so make your expectations clear, whether you make use of a restaurant or caterers. If you hire musicians, make sure that their performance isn’t too loud or disruptive during the meal.

Beyond December: Don’t forget that holidays happen throughout the year. A Fourth of July barbecue… a Valentine’s Day concert… even a costume party on Halloween can be a fun and entertaining event for the people you do business with.