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 Clients can bring all of their outdated, sensitive documents to be disposed of safely and participate in a social occasion with easy food and fellowship at its center.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

June 9th DOL Requirements – FAQ’s

This month’s Compliance Corner blog entry will focus on frequently asked questions we are receiving considering the June 9th implementation of DOL’s Fiduciary Rule, specifically at it relates to PTE 84-24 and business submitted to FIG.

June 9th came and went without the sky falling, as some had predicted. I’m not suggesting that things didn’t change in our industry, but business did not come to a grinding halt. We find ourselves in a new environment where the DOL’s Impartial Conduct Standards rules the day. While we generally operated in the spirit of the Impartial Conducts Standards anyway, the primary requirement that came of the June 9th implementation boiled down to one new document, the Disclosure Statement.

The Disclosure Statement is a required document that spells out key items that our customers must be informed of prior to a transaction involving qualified money. This document discloses things such as the Agent compensation, various material conflicts of interest, product fees and expenses to name a few key elements. Most of the questions we have received since June 9th involves the disclosure of commissions, books and records requirements, and material conflicts of interest. While not intended to be an exhaustive list, I will address a few of the most common questions we have received so far.

Question – My company receives an override for the transaction. What do I disclose to the customer?
Answer – PTE 84-28 places the disclosure obligation on the individual who makes the recommendation. Under PTE 84-24, the Agent has the obligation to disclose the compensation they receive for the recommended transaction. The company(ies) the Agent is affiliated with are not required to make any additional disclosures as they are not the ones making the recommendation.

Question – What is a material conflicts of interest and how to I disclose this?
Answer – A material conflict exists when a person has a financial interest that a reasonable person would conclude could affect the exercise of its best judgment as a fiduciary in rendering advice. All cash and noncash compensation received by the should be considered in determining whether a material conflict of interest exists. FIG compiled the various conflicts it was aware of that Agents may receive through its platform and included this information within the Disclosure Statement. There may be other conflicts FIG is not privy to that other FMO’s or AFMO’s provide to an agent. As the Disclosure Statement is a template document, the Agent is able to make changes or updates necessary to disclose their material conflicts of interest. Agents should consult their own legal counsel on their specific situation to ensure they have made adequate disclosure.

Question – What do I do with the Disclosure Statement once it is completed?
Answer – First, Agents must provide a copy of the completed and signed Disclosure Document to the customer. The disclosure obligation rests solely on the Agent who makes the recommendation to the customer, and hence, the Disclosure must be maintained within the Agent’s books and records for six (6) years to evidence this requirement was completed. FIG will not accept any copies of the Disclosure nor will it maintain copies of the Disclosure within its books and records. Most insurance companies do not require a copy of the disclosure and many only require a check-box type certification that the requirement was completed within the application.

We will share more DOL news and information as it becomes available. As always, should you have any compliance questions, we are always here to help. Please feel free to send an email to compliance@figmarketing.com.

How Do You Find a STAR?

During my first real job interview, immediately after college I was asked a series of interview questions for a recruiting and sales position. The meeting was with the owner of the franchise who also had a tremendous track record as a successful salesperson. However, one question has stayed with me all these years and perhaps more importantly the answer given by the franchise owner.

 “In your opinion, what is the most important skill you must possess to be successful as a sales professional?”

My answer: The ability to establish relationships.

Perhaps most people would have given the same response and even more believe to be the correct answer (or at least that which my interviewer was looking for).

RESILIENCY. As I learned that day, believe today, and share as often as I can to anyone who will listen, is the most important skill you must possess to be a successful sales professional. All relationships, in every aspect of life, are tested regularly. Any salesperson and most certainly, every recruiting professional, will tell you that there are peaks and valleys throughout the sales cycle. It is how we respond to each that will set us apart from our competition. Today’s business is becoming increasingly more commoditized as information and resources are made readily available to our markets at warp speed. Thus, testing our ability to overcome objection after objection and negotiation after negotiation. So, how do we as recruiting professionals as well as the hiring authorities we represent assess a candidate’s resiliency? We can structure our interview questions based on the STAR interview technique.

The STAR interview technique is a behavioral (e.g. soft skills) interview question and answer method used to help predict future performance. In this method, the interviewer(s) seek answers to questions based on a Situation, Task/Target, Action, and Result previously experienced by the candidate. Utilizing the STAR technique provides structure while assisting the candidate and interviewer to stay focused on the answers. Focus during the interview is a two-way street. The candidate should remain on topic, provide specific answers based on past situations, and maintain the action he or she took to resolve the matter. The interviewer should listen and document each element of the answer. An accurate reference will later provide the information necessary to properly assess how the candidate answered the question (did they provide a complete STAR) and did the answer (e.g. the action taken by the candidate) fit a characteristic ideal for success.

Adaptability, Prioritization, Active Listening, and Leadership; just a few soft skills a behavioral based interview should be structured to identify, evaluate, and reinforce the overall selection.

If we apply the STAR technique to assessing resiliency, as well as the soft skills mentioned above, as a defining characteristic of a successful (or future successful) sales professional, we can better determine how the candidate will perform when (not if) a similar objection is presented to them again.

Customer Service and the impact on your business

Is customer service and our level of engagement with the client important to the success of a practice? On a recent vacation, a trip to Walt Disney World Resort, I learned first-hand how customer service and interaction impacts the takeaway.

This was not my first trip to the Disney Resort in Orlando, Florida. I received a Disney World Annual Pass as a birthday present in 2002. I became a repeat and loyal patron of the resort and would travel from Charlotte to Orlando at least three times per year for the thirteen years I kept the membership going. A kid at heart, I enjoy themed attractions, especially immersive experiences and thrill rides. That was the first enticement, the second was Disney’s commitment to unrivaled customer service. I had not realized how much it meant to my personal travel experience until it failed.

I work in the marketing segment of the financial and insurance services industry. Upon my return to work I began to ponder the customer experience and how important it is when offering any consumer product. Pertaining to advisors and their businesses, the customer experience revolves around how each client perceives their interactions. Every point of engagement leaves an impression including time with owners, advisory services, staff members and the environment (space) where business is conducted. Expectations and consistency play a role in the positive or negative takeaway from each encounter.

Maintaining connections to long-term clientele is important throughout the life of the business. They usually represent the building blocks from its early stages. Consistency in the conduct of interaction is paramount to maintaining clients and getting referrals. Checking in the first day of my trip, the staff had not been properly trained to take care of things that I was promised. I trusted the brand and now it was letting me down. This made me second guess future trips to the resort.

Trust is a very important component in business relationships. Other key characteristics that clients value in their financial advisors are personalization, expertise and empathy. Clients are interested in working with advisors who understand their personal needs, goals and timetables. It is important the advisor can demonstrate the ability to orchestrate interpersonal skills combined with traditional expertise and the ability to return on investment. This is what creates successful advisor/client relationships.1

Interaction is always a part of any transaction even when a human being is absent from the process. Purposefully corporations hire specialists to build out their web profiles and online presences with UX (User Experience) professionals. This ensures that the consumer has a positive encounter with their website so that they may return to purchase again in the future. Competition is plentiful and company brands’ and reputations are on the line when negative feedback begins to roll in via social outlets. 60% of people get influenced by others when they are about to buy. Any hesitation to fulfill clients’ needs may result in a failure to attract new business or retain your long-time clientele. 2

Fortunately, the Walt Disney World Resort has many outstanding Cast Members who stepped up a few days into the trip. Those excellent employees worked their magic to make amends for the shortcomings that happened at the beginning of the vacation. Their proactive approach reaffirmed my confidence in the product and the brand.

Providing exemplary customer service is not difficult when you stay connected to the clients you serve. Make sure client touches are not too far apart, because emotional relationships between advisors and clients has never been more important. Client appreciation events go a long way to maintaining relationships and garnering referrals from all those long-term investors.3 Treating all your customers with the same respect that you would a recruit will strengthen the relationships for many years and possibly influence their family to seek your advice. By maintaining an interest and attention to personal service, you will keep your clients interested in both you and your business.

1 What Clients Value In Their Financial Advisors – https://www.forbes.com/sites/russalanprince/2015/04/01/what-clients-value-in-their-financial-advisors/#2e016aba1c50

2 Why Great Customer Service Is Critical To Business Success – https://www.tagove.com/great-customer-service-critical-business-success/

3 Advisers’ clients want even more of the human touch – http://www.investmentnews.com/article/20150518/FREE/150519918/advisers-clients-want-even-more-of-the-human-touch