The Scoop: Spring Client Appreciation and Prospecting Events

The Scoop Event picture

Social client events are among the best ways to get to know clientele. When clients choose service providers, trust plays a key role in developing a rapport. Creating a client event that is both fun and resourceful can facilitate a closer bond. Developing trust takes time and interaction. These events allow an advisor to connect with their clients on a personal level, which builds confidence in the relationship. Clients are interested in working with financial advisors who understand their specific goals and timetables.1 Financial Advisors that take the time to engage with clients regularly are more successful than their counterparts that do not.2

Planning is critical, so that the advisor can be calm and personable during the event. Getting started is easy when you allow professional assistance to guide your way. Marketing services can narrow the field of choices taking into consideration all of the details. When properly executed, your function will foster a favorable and lasting impression on attendees. With the power of social media, a well-planned and successful event can positively build your reputation.3 Proper timing and planning are key ingredients for the success of the occasion.

Our team, at All Points Media, has created the following event ideas, complete with invitation, event checklist and more for our Elevate members.

Add a few of these events to your calendar for Quarter 2. 

Tax DShred Day Event Postcarday is approaching. Why not prepare a “Shred Day Event,” a barbeque picnic with all the fixings complete with a document shredding truck. Clients can bring all of their outdated, sensitive documents to be disposed of safely and participate in a social occasion with easy food and fellowship at its center. Use it as customer appreciation for your veteran clientele and an occasion to meet their friends to develop new relationships. The trust you have built with existing clients should help to pave the way for business growth.

MothersDay_Pstcrd1_sample

 

Mother’s Day Appreciation Banquet. This event allows you to pamper the mother’s in your book of business a few different ways: Invite your clients that are mothers for an evening away, host a luncheon for your client’s and their mothers or treat your clients that are mothers and their daughters to a spa day. This event is about recognizing these amazing women no matter which way you decide to spin it.

 

Client event postcard

 

Plan a First Responders event with food, gaming and even a 5k with proceeds benefitting, police, fire, emergency or military services. The proceeds can be gathered and donated. PR releases can associate your brand with positive community involvement. Your business will have the opportunity to connect with other demographics. Now you have increased your audience significantly.

 

Lemonade EventLemonade Refresher Event. Showcase samplings and styles of various types of Lemonade (Raspberry, Watermelon, or Orange-Mango). Spirits blended into some of the recipes might create a great social meet and greet for clients and referrals. Do this as a summer event when people are looking for ways to cool down during the hot months. Plan the event in the early part of the evening and avoid the midday swelter. Adding an assortment of hors d’oeuvres to the menu will make it the perfect drop by social occasion. Incorporating some grillers, simple sides, fun games along with an outdoor movie could make your function a family friendly destination for the evening.

Interested in creating your own social client event? Not certain of where to begin, or would like some assistance with the details? Want to make the best use of your resources? Give our FIG Sales Consultants a call at 1-800-527-1155. We can help.

Tell me more about the Elevate Program. 

 

1http://www.forbes.com/sites/russalanprince/2015/04/01/what-clients-value-in-their-financial-advisors/#69b967bd3ab6
2http://financialadvisoriq.com/c/543501/61181/body_language_tips_awkward_advisor
3http://www.inc.com/paul-schoemaker/5-ways-to-know-what-your-customer-wants.html

New Requirements Changing How You Do Business are Coming on June 9th! Are You Protected From Potential Liability?

Although the Department of Labor (“DOL”) recently extended the applicability date for many of the Fiduciary Rule (the “Rule”) requirements; on June 9, 2017, a new fiduciary and impartial conduct standard will take effect changing the way agents sell various products, including indexed annuities.

First, agents conducting these transactions will be operating under a heightened fiduciary standard of care. This is not new for agents who sell securities and most agents currently do business in a way that satisfies this higher standard of care. However, with a heightened standard of care comes increased exposure to lawsuits and liability. Agents will also be required to provide various disclosures to the consumer and are barred from any misleading statements including, without limitation, conflicts of interest and those in sales material. Next week, FIG will be conducting a webinar that will provide more detail and guidance as to these issues. Be on the lookout for information coming to you in the near future regarding the specifics and, if for some reason you do not receive this information, please feel to send me an email to nick.voelker@figmarketing.com and I will personally send you the information.

The DOL recently stated that they will not enforce the Rule in 2016. Does this mean you do not have to comply? No, because consumers and their plaintiff’s lawyers can still sue you for not abiding by these legal requirements!

So how do I manage this increased exposure?

  1. If you have not incorporated, or set up a limited liability company, now is the time to look into doing so. It is fairly inexpensive and most states have online forms and filing capabilities. Corporate entities can provide a shield from a plaintiff who obtains a judgment against you going after your personal assets. For example, in some states, a corporate entity will protect your toys (motorcycle, boat, plane, ATVs, etc.), jewelry, liening your home and investment property, etc.*** Please note that corporate entity protections vary by state and may also have tax consequences. Before incorporating you should seek the advice of a licensed attorney in your respective state, and also a trusted accountant.
  2. Look into obtaining errors and omission insurance coverage. If you already have it, make sure you have enough coverage to protect your business in the event of a lawsuit and potential liability exposure.
  3. Document, document, document! Lawsuits are many times won and lost on which party has better documentation. Therefore, it is a good business practice to ensure that all conversations, disclosures, etc. involved in a given transaction are well documented. The key is to avoid a “he said” versus “she said” situation during a lawsuit. Proper documentation avoids this scenario. If you speak to a client by telephone and are giving advice involving the sale of a product it is a good business practice to document these conversations. For example, as soon as possible thereafter you may want to follow up by email regarding the general nature of your discussion to make sure both of you are on the same page. Most consumers appreciate this level of service anyways.
  4. Supervise and oversee all transactions that are derived from your firm. The firm itself can also be exposed to liability for their sub-agents’ conduct. If this task is too onerous for big firms, or the owner or principal of smaller firms, it may be time to think about hiring a compliance officer or supervisor who is actively involved in the oversight and quality control of a given transaction to ensure there is proper documentation and the transaction is compliant under applicable law.

Now is the time to start protecting yourself from this increased risk exposure!

Please note that the law as it relates to these issues vary by state. Therefore, should you need legal advice, please seek the advice of counsel licensed in your respective state. Accordingly, the information contained herein is being provided for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal or tax advice.

Are you using technology to your full advantage as a Financial Advisor?

Technology is everywhere you look these days – people walking around with their heads down engrossed in their smart phones, computers and tablets. You see this engagement all around – there is no escaping it. As new innovations come to light, we will see even more utilization for both work and leisure. Looking forward to the future, this too will be true in the insurance industry.

In today’s wealth management and insurance workflow, it is commonplace to get by without fully utilizing the technologies available. The evidence speaks for itself – simple sign in sheets at events, or the use of a pen and paper to fill out applications are still popular. However, as time moves forward it will become increasingly difficult to keep up with technology trends if we fail to embrace them today. Technology is a scary space to learn but once you dive in, you will begin to see where it can fit into all aspects of your business to save you time and money!

Some suggestions on current technology to implement now

Did you know the IGO (In Good Order) rates are significantly higher using e-applications vs. filling out paper applications? With e-applications, it is less likely to miss the collection of significant data which can happen with hand-written forms. For annuity applications with one of our largest carriers, IGO rates are 56% higher using e-applications rather than paper (e-application IGO rate is 92% while the paper IGO rate is only 36%). By using e-applications and avoiding those NIGOs (not in good order), business gets issued faster resulting in happier clients along with quicker commission payments for the advisor.

Another good technology to invest in is an event management tool. There are many options, so finding the right fit for your business model may take a little time upfront. This investment will pay-off in the long run. Consider the time it takes to manually sign in each guest to your events – having to look up each name on a sheet of paper, cross them off, and get each participant what they need. There are easy to use applications available for your tablet or computer that sign guests in and gather stats for reporting later. If you’d rather spend your time setting up, leave your tablet out on the table to allow guests to check themselves in – it’s that easy!

As the days move forward, technology will only become more prevalent. By engaging and embracing today’s innovations, you will become more efficient and even start to attract a more expansive clientele. Stay ahead of the competition by implementing the tools that fit your practice today, to help drive advances for your business tomorrow.

Compliance Corner

This is the first of what will be an ongoing blog entry focusing on everyone’s favorite topic: Compliance (ok, insert joke here). First things first, I feel compelled to dispel some of the myths behind what “compliance” is and what the role of compliance will be within our organization.

I have always found it interesting to see how people react when I say what I do for a living. When I tell people that I’m a Compliance Officer, I generally receive the same few responses of: 1.) “Oh boy, we have to watch what we say around this guy”, or 2.) “You are the guy who controls and rejects everything”, or 3.) “I feel bad for you”, or some combination of all three. I suppose these feelings could be based on past experiences with other Compliance Departments or Regulators, but is likely based on assumptions or folklore.

Compliance, by its Webster definition, is the act of conforming with official requirements. Regardless of what one does for work, every job has certain requirements, procedures or perhaps regulations that must be followed. As consumers, we would expect someone we engage who performs certain services for us to follow their procedures and requirements appropriately. For example, you wouldn’t want to hire an electrician to wire your house and not follow proper procedures or regulations as the results could be, well, shocking. How would you know if someone wiring your house was doing the right thing and following the right processes? We know that inspectors review such work and confirm the work was done appropriately. The role of a Compliance Officer works the same way in our industry as he or she is there to review and confirm our work is being done appropriately so we don’t get “shocked” later.

Our industry is filled with rules, regulations, policies and procedures—which can sometimes be confusing even to individuals who have been in the industry for decades! One of the main functions of a Compliance Officer is to help clarify the gray areas and provide guidance on how to comply while protecting the Company and its Advisors from potential regulatory risk. A good Compliance Officer seeks to understand a situation first and make a risk-based decision. If there is a situation that may be problematic, a good Compliance Officer seeks to partner with our Advisors or internal colleagues to come up with other potential solutions. Gone are the days where a Compliance Department is a “Just Say No” department. If a certain situation requires a “no”, there may be other things we can address to make it a “yes” while staying in compliance with industry standards.

Now that I’ve set a foundation, I plan to submit regular blog entries going forward. The intent is to give you a heads up on things that you should be aware of from a compliance perspective. This could be a food for thought type article, such as this one, or it may be directed towards certain hot-button regulatory issues or upcoming regulations you should be aware of.

Should you have any compliance questions, we are always here to help. Please feel free to send an email to compliance@figmarketing.com.