Think about the last great party or event you attended. What made it memorable? How did you feel about the host? Did you meet new friends or business acquaintances? Or maybe learned something new? Advisors can harness the same concept to better connect with clients and prospects and make a positive impression on the community. Yet there is more to it than throwing a great party – to see a return on your event-investment, you need a strategy. In this blog post, we share the five key components of an effective client event.
Before we discuss how to host an effective event, we will briefly touch on why. The “why” is simple: it comes down to connections. Client events create an opportunity to connect with current prospects and clients in a new way, while also opening the door to meeting potential new prospects who wouldn’t otherwise be in your pipeline. Client events also create the opportunity for advisors to meet new centers of influence, discuss services with a target audience, earn referrals, stand out from the competition, make clients feel appreciated, and entertain key staff. However, to achieve these benefits, your client events must be executed properly.
Poorly planned client events can sometimes be worse than no event at all – which is why advisors are often hesitant to even try. No one may show up (including speakers!), technology may malfunction, drinks may run out, and so much more – all of which can hurt your client and prospect relationships. So, how can you ward off Fyre Festival 2.0 and instead host the perfect client event? It comes down to planning and, we’ve outlined some of the most essential steps for successful client events below.
How to Plan an Effective Client Event
Step 1: Determine Your Goal
Before any other steps are taken, we recommend determining the specific goals that your firm hopes to achieve through the client event. Do you want to express gratitude to top clients and referral sources? Gain introductions to prospects? Stay in touch with clients from across the country? Make a positive impact on your community? Introduce a new brand or successor? The options for goals are endless. However, without specified goals, your event may go off in the wrong direction or lack direction all together.
Step 2: Select the Type of Event
Once you determine the goal of your event, you can focus on the type of event you want to host. Event types can range from large symposiums to small intimate gatherings, however we recommend selecting a type of event that directly represents who you are as a firm as well as what you wish to accomplish. For example, a private dinner at a museum may be a great way to show appreciation to top clients and referrals or get introduced to new prospects, but it may fail at introducing a new firm name or giving back to your community.
It is also important to note that most clients and prospects will not attend an event that doesn’t seem fun, educational, or worth their time. Because of this, it is crucial to plan an event that doesn’t just appeal to your goals, but appeals to your target audience as well.
Step 3: Create a Strategy
Once you have a sense for what type of event you want to hold and what you aim to accomplish, the next step is creating a thoughtful strategy and putting ideas into action. Below are some best practices that should be part of any event strategy.
Take your firm’s passions into consideration. When you build events around something you and/or your firm is passionate about, you will exude enthusiasm that will help make real connections with clients and prospects. For example, if you love to paint, maybe host a painting class or hold an event at an art museum.
Find common ground. After you create a draft invite list, take the time to group invitees according to commonalities. By doing this, you can design events based on specific interests, challenges, or personalities.
Pick the ideal date. The wrong date can result in low or no attendance. Make sure no big events that your invitees might be interested in are occurring on the same day. We also recommend choosing Wednesday or Thursday as those days typically have the highest attendance rate. Lastly, make sure the event is occurring when your clients or prospects will likely be in town.
Hire a speaker. Hiring a speaker for an event is usually an effective way to attract attendees. The more high-profile the speaker, the bigger the draw. Just remember that the speaker should relate to your firm and the services you offer but also not compete.
Select an exciting venue. Just like the speaker, a great venue can be an effective draw for clients and prospects. Try to select a venue that can not only accommodate your event’s size, technological needs, food and beverage, etc. but also one that your invitees would be excited to go to. We have found that events that provide unique access create an incentive to attend, whether it be an exclusive private club, a private tour of a ballpark or a dinner featuring a well-known chef. Clients and prospects are more likely to go if they can’t otherwise access that experience.
Step 4: Book! Book! Book!
With a firm client event strategy in place, it is now time to book! book! book! You do not want to procrastinate and be left hanging without a crucial part of your event. Book your speaker(s), venue, caterer, valet, entertainment, and everyone and everything necessary for your event as soon as possible.
Step 5: Get the Word Out
Since there is no event if there is no one to attend it, the final step to planning your client event is getting the word out. Carefully curate your invite list and make sure to give all your invitees ample notice for the event so they can put you on their schedule. We recommend sending out a save the date a couple months prior to the event and a formal invitation a few weeks prior to the event, followed by a personal phone call. Your clients and prospects will be thankful that you put in the effort and be more likely to accept your invitation and attend.
Ready to Start Planning?
Successful client events can be a lot of work, but with the right planning, they create excellent potential to grow your firm and enhance your clients’ experience. While we only discussed the steps you need to take toward your next event, in order to reap all of the benefits, actions must also be taken during and after client events as well. Wealth Matters Consulting is here to assist you every step of the way. Our elite team of marketing, communications and PR experts have the skills and experience necessary to execute your perfect event from start to finish. Contact us to get started today!