Hopefully you are taking time to fully recharge your batteries this summer. After all, it's been at least 24 months or so that you've been assisting your clients in navigating the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Taking a summer vacation with family and loved ones is a tradition that most, if not all of us, have enjoyed since we were old enough to know what was going on. Summer vacations are good for you, your family, and even your clients, because you come back energized and ready for action.
However, a summer vacation doesn't mean taking the entire summer off. It also doesn't mean slowing business activity down to the bare necessities. Life goes on; the financial world is not on vacation. This is actually a perfect time to schmooze your top clients, penetrate select centers of influence, strengthen relationships with strategic referral alliances, and continue to fill your pipeline — all while taking care of yourself.
The following is what I refer to as our 3 Tips for a Successful Summer. If the shoe fits, wear it, but one size doesn't fit all. My intention is for you to maintain the mindset where you really take some time off and strategically attend to business when you're back in the saddle.
- Take a vacation
Nothing is a better tonic for the soul than taking a real vacation with family and loved ones. What I mean by “real” is leaving work at the office. Your vacation doesn't have to be at a luxury resort or on a Mediterranean cruise; it could be a week at the lake — the idea is leave work behind. Granted, this takes a bit of preparation, both with your team and your clients.
- Select 10 to 15 top clients
Actually, you can simply select your top revenue-generating clients. For most advisors, this is a slight variation of the 80/20 Pareto Principle; rather than 20 percent of your clients driving 80 percent of your revenue, it's closer to 20 clients. These are the special clients to whom you're going to reach out on a personal level this summer.
Less is more! Save yourself a lot of time and energy this summer by only focusing on your top revenue-generating clients. Whether it's day-to-day interactions, communicating your vacation schedule, or inviting them to your events, the fewer clients you focus on, the more value, revenue, and affluent prospects you'll have in your pipeline, and the more enjoyment you will have.
- Schedule one market update and one social event
Here I'm being a bit conservative. We know rainmakers who are doing more, but the idea is to be proactive in what is still a very challenging financial environment. Affluent clients are most likely to attend a small social event or market update event — and to bring a guest.
Invite clients in small groups of between five and ten. This will be dependent upon the number of your team members who will be in attendance. Remember, the idea is to strengthen rapport, even at a marketing update event.
Instruct clients to bring a specific guest. Your affluent clients are very likely to want to bring a guest to these small events. The secret is to help them by suggesting someone you would like them to bring. In this way, you are helping them help you.
Invite select strategic referral alliance partners. CPAs, estate planning attorneys and the like typically do a poor job of managing client relationships. This is the perfect venue to teach them how simple and effective it can be to strengthen client relationships while showcasing professionalism. This will strengthen your current referral alliances and help you expand your reach by inviting potential alliance partners. Depending upon your relationship with these referral alliance partners, you can even suggest that they bring a client with them.
I have witnessed this process serve as a “tipping point” for a number of advisors. From the initial objective of planning for a successful summer, at some point awareness surfaces — “Wow, I should really focus my attention on my top clients.” It has been my experience that whenever advisors give themselves permission to focus on their top revenue-generating clients, their business improves.
The summer is a perfect time to re-engineer your client base. Today's affluent clients are demanding more communication, more personal attention, and more services. To this end, the summer can provide you with a subtle window of opportunity to begin clearing your bandwidth for those affluent prospects you'll be putting into your pipeline.
is author of Building a Successful 21st Century Financial Practice: Attracting, Servicing & Retaining Affluent Clients.