Should Client Events Be Salesy?

Should Client Events Be Salesy?
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Beverly Flaxington is a practice management consultant. She answers questions from advisors facing human resource issues. To submit yours, email us here.

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Dear Bev,

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We just held our annual client holiday party. We don’t tout it as a holiday party per se but rather an end-of-year event to thank our clients. I always leave the event feeling as if we are missing something. Clients are happy and enjoy themselves, but should we be talking about our work or the news on the political front? I find myself wondering whether clients know that we are their financial advisors so naturally expect us to speak of financial concerns. What is your thought on this? Are we missing the boat or is what we are doing appropriate?

Karen R.

Client Events

Dear Karen,

I do not recommend talking about the recent political news at your holiday event! I fear, given the contentious nature of politics, you may sour some people’s stomachs while they could have been enjoying your hors d’oeuvres without distress.

On a more serious note, I believe there are different ways to hold client events. Your expected outcome, along with how you bill the event to clients, should dictate the way you manage the event itself – what kind of information you share, how informal or formal it is, etc. So first ask yourself some of the following questions:

  1. What do we hope for as an outcome from this event? Is the goal to make clients feel good about us? Is it to have them think about other things we could be doing for them? Is it to gain referrals? What’s our main objective?
  2. What will clients expect when they come? How are we advertising or promoting this event in our invites and conversations? Do they expect to just have a good time? To learn something? To meet new people in our firm?
  3. Do we ask clients for input on our events? Do we know if what they expected, and what they received from us is the same? Do we know what they enjoy and what they would like us to do differently?
  4. What other events do we have? Are there other opportunities for clients to learn, or become more formally introduced to important information such as investment updates and possible political impact on the markets?

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