Advisors: If It Isn’t Authentic, Don’t Send It.

November 14, 2019

Make sure you’re adding a personal touch to your holiday cards

With only seven weeks until the new year, I know that our mailboxes will soon start filling with Thanksgiving, holiday and Happy New Year messages. While I appreciate the greetings from friends and family and look forward to the pictures, the generic “service provider” cards can’t be recycled fast enough. I typically open the cards and see names of the staff (most of whom I don’t know) or an embossed “insert firm name” logo and chuckle as I wonder just how special my relationship is with that firm, or whether they really do appreciate my business.  And don’t get me started on “a donation to a charity was made in your name.”

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post called “Do your client communications stand out?” In the post, I suggested that the traditional weekly market review emails were “impersonal, unproductive and generally delivered days after any useful relevance could be found in them.” All client communications reinforce your brand –- yes, even those holiday or birthday cards!  To me, sending out a generic card says you have generic clients.  Sending out a card with just the names of the staff makes me think of the office staff sitting around a conference room table in an assembly line signing their names; passing, signing and passing, signing and passing - you get the point.

Show them you care

While I understand the desire to keep your name in front of your clients or show them that you’re thinking of them, my guess is that your generic cards are being treated the same as the ones that I get – a quick glance and toss. What would make them stand out?

  • Hand-written addresses on the envelope
  • Authentic, thoughtful notes inside

Personal GreetingsI am not suggesting that you write a novel or even a short story, but a quick note in your own handwriting would go a long way in showing you do actually appreciate their business and your relationship with them. It would also demonstrate that you actually know them and understand what is important. Compare that to a general holiday greeting card or an email from a robo-advisor, and you will certainly stand out.

Ideas for getting started

So, you have a few weeks.  Why not try the following:

  1. Segment your clients, or at the bare minimum, group your top clients in your CRM. Think about which holidays they celebrate and code them appropriately. Maybe send a few different types of cards during the season to really show you know them.
  2. Using the segmentation, think about your note and the tone you want to send by segment or client. It could be personal notes or highly specific, based on your relationship and how many years they’ve been clients.
  3. Personalize it. For example, think about adding the names of your clients’ kids in the message (or even the family pet).  “Dear John, Jen, Jace, Kade (and Skamp)” would tell me that you know us and actually care about all of us, even the dog!
  4. If you want the staff to sign the card, fine, but a name isn’t enough. Each person who signs should add something beyond just his or her name to get away from the vision of an assembly line. For example, I get a card from one group, and everyone typically adds their nickname for me (Johnny A., JDA, John, etc.). This shows they actually thought about for whom they were signing.

This year, you have an opportunity to set yourself apart from the chiropractor, alumni association, mail carrier or the garbage person.  By sending authentic holiday greetings, you strengthen your client relationships and set yourself apart from the competition. Make your greeting authentic.  
 

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