3 Types Of Client Events and How They Generate Growth For Your Practice
Spending time with your clients outside the business—is it excessive? Or fun? Insincere?
Most importantly… Is it worth it?
Some advisors consider their clients good friends and love the chance to socialize with them; others like to draw a clear line between professional and personal relationships. But here’s the thing—your business is inherently personal, and the more that clients see you as a close friend or trusted confidant, the more likely they are to refer you to others. So even if you’re in the second camp, there’s a clear benefit to cultivating deeper relationships with clients, and spending quality time with them is a very effective way to do that.
Plus, socializing outside the business isn’t just about impressing top clients and prospects in the hopes of more business from those people. It’s about providing above-and-beyond service, creating memorable experiences, and cultivating deeper, more meaningful relationships—all of which help inspire referrals from different kinds of clients.
Here are three types of client events and how they can generate growth for your practice:
Intimate Client Events
Hosting events with 20 or fewer people (no more than 10 couples) is a great way to strengthen relationships with your top clients. Keeping it small gives you the chance to have real conversations, deepen connections, and enjoy quality time with great people—all of which build trust and make them view you more like a friend—which of course, increases your chance for referrals.
Beyond that, these events give you the chance to show your clients how much you appreciate them by treating them to an amazing experience. You can do something casual (but still exciting) like renting box seats at a sporting event or something more elegant like dinner at a nice restaurant (preferably in a private room or rented space). There are lots of ways to get creative with smaller events—you can book group cooking classes, wine tastings, a golf scramble—the opportunities are extensive.
Whatever you decide to do, be strategic about who you invite to what events. Small events should be reserved for A clients only, and of course, you want to know that someone enjoys golf before you invite them to play 18 holes. And if several of your clients are already friends—or you think they should be—invite them to the same event.
Hosting seminars or other educational events serves several purposes: For starters, you are positioning yourself as an expert and a thought leader, which builds credibility and trust. Beyond that, hosting these kinds of events adds value for current clients, and they’re a strategic way for you to “ask for an introduction” without asking for an introduction. When you invite clients to your event, open the invite to their friends as well. Encourage them to bring someone who would benefit from learning about the topic at hand.
For this strategy to work, the event needs to be worthwhile. Pick a topic that is timely and interesting, and address common concerns and questions. Host it somewhere nice, like a country club, serve hors d’oeuvres (or a meal) and drinks, and leave plenty of time for mingling. (We recommend keeping your speaking portion to 30 minutes or less).
You can also target your next generation of clients with this strategy. Choose a topic that speaks to young professionals and new families, and present it as an opportunity for your current clients’ kids or grandkids. It shows you care about their entire family, and it opens the door to potential future clients. If you have new advisors on your team who are looking to build their books of business, they can host the event, which is a great way for them to meet new prospects.
We recommend that most events be reserved for your top clients (or a segment you’re specifically targeting, like the younger generation), but this is an exception. This is the kind of thing you would only do once a year, and you would invite all your clients and their families. (Or at least A-level and B-level clients, depending on how big your book is and how big you want the event to be. Either way—make it family-friendly.)
You can do a summertime social at a park with food trucks and live music (or games like cornhole and giant Jenga), you can host a Christmas festival and invite Santa for photo ops, or you could even rent out a children’s museum for an evening. It all depends on your budget and the opportunities available where you live.
There are very few events people can bring their kids to these days (especially when socializing with their advisor), and hosting something like this sets you apart from the crowd. It shows you value what your clients value, and it gives you a chance to do something really special for all your clients. Doing so can prompt lower-level clients to engage with you on a deeper level, and it creates an experience people can’t help but rave about.
What type of client event is best for your practice?
The answer to that question depends on a lot of things—your goals, budget, target markets. And of course, this is not an extensive list of all the ways you can spend time with clients. It’s a snapshot of ideas that hopefully encourage you to branch out this year and be intentional about how you grow your practice. And if you don’t have a plan for how you’re going to grow, you need one—and we’re here to help.