Will Your Summer Client Event Stand Out from the Crowd?

 In Professional Development

Summer calendars are already filling up. Dr. John L. Evans Jr. shares three tips for client appreciation events that clients will remember.

Working tirelessly to perfect sourcing and maintaining great clients is inescapable in our industry. At Knowledge Labs™, we understand there are some universal elements when it comes to consistently WOWing those clients. We also recognize the value of lessons learned through conversations over coffee with friends and associates – especially if those nuggets of wisdom are applicable to your business.

For example, I have a friend who sells meeting space at a major resort destination. Out of curiosity, I asked her which of her client appreciation events surprised her the most. “Two come to mind from last year,” she said. “One flopped, the other was almost perfect.” The surprise failure was a well-thought-out watch party for July 4th fireworks that involved a lot of legwork by her and her team. With heavy rain that day, nobody came to the outdoor event and an alternate location was not selected in time. Ouch.

The surprise success was a lighthearted event she scheduled simply because she suspected these particular clients would be up for something different – an obstacle course mud race. While it was risky, that particular group of clients relished the competitive and fun event, and everybody had a laugh at their before and after selfies. As the evening drew to a close, her clients excitedly asked her, “Can we do something like this next time you come out?”

I felt inspired by her ingenuity, and on the drive back to the office I came up with three general rules for advisors planning summer events that evoke what we call The Art of WOW.

  1. Make it Personal
  2. Make it Magical
  3. Make it Unforgettable

WOW Tip: Remember your Unique Business Tranche (UBT) when you’re planning client appreciation events. If you’ve successfully cultivated a super-niche, you should already have a good idea of what kind of experience has the best chance to WOW.

The Devil Is in the Details

As is often the case, bigger isn’t always better. A personalized experience, planned with a specific individual or group in mind, probably has a better chance of succeeding than an elaborate yet generic function. The underlying truth is that exceptional client service is only possible if you actually get to know your clients. It’s great when you hit it off and have a lot in common, but if you don’t, avoid the temptation to default to an idea that worked in the past. The key to WOWing your clients is a personalized experience with an element of surprise — which not only meets their unstated needs but also displays how well you know them.

That being said, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed – as a plus-one of friends or family members – events that weren’t tailored especially for me. They did, however, share a common element. The organizers invested a lot of thought into the gathering, with unique touches and sparkling details scattered throughout the experience. And enough time – not to mention a low enough noise level – to talk to each other so that you have an opportunity to know your clients and their families better while creating new memories.

And consider reaching out for an honest assessment of how it went. Not only does it present another touch point, but it also allows you to refine your strategy.

Make It Second to None

Now it’s time to put all your diligent observations to work. Summer is prime time for events – weddings, graduation parties, barbecues and every other flavor of get-together will be jostling for space on the calendars of both potential and existing clients. How will you make sure your occasion is the most anticipated of the season?

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