I sat in on a call with a great group of RIAs two weeks ago. The premise of the call was technology and what each advisor was doing to navigate the new work from home (WFH) environment. While many already had integrated workflows in their respective CRMs and were masters of Zoom and other communication technologies, for others it was a great learning experience. It was wonderful to hear those advisors sharing ideas, best practices and technology. However, it was something else that really got my attention.

As the call was wrapping, one advisor shared an off-topic idea that he implemented. Many of his clients are medical professionals at a local hospital. As you can imagine, their days are quite stressful and difficult. After talking to one of his doctor clients late one afternoon, the advisor drove over to the client’s house and put a bottle of wine with a note on the doorstep. The note thanked the doctor for her service and suggested that she put the bottle to good use.   

Thank YouThat random act, that little gesture, was so greatly appreciated by the client that the advisor decided to repeat it for all the medical professionals in his book. He wanted to let them know in an easy, unobtrusive way that he was thinking of them while they were thinking about others.

Staff too

Less than a day after hearing that story, a package was delivered to my house. The box was filled with a dozen assorted chocolates from a local shop. The note said:

“Thanks to you, great things happen every day.  We appreciate you and can’t wait to see you again soon – Your SEI Family”

Some of my colleagues got cookies from bakeries near their homes, some received other goodies, but the theme was consistent, supporting small local businesses while following the CDC guidelines for health and safety.

My wife, who is the executive director of a local nonprofit, loved the idea so much she send flowers to her staff in honor of the upcoming Earth Day.

What can you do?

I can’t think of a better time to do random acts of kindness for your clients and staff than right now. Our business isn’t just about numbers and performance, it is about connecting with clients to help them reach their goals and holding their hands (figuratively, not literally) in challenging times. Not a wine expert? There are all sorts of ways to show your appreciation:

  1. Send a gift card from a local coffee shop, restaurant or theatre that may have limited service (or no service) during the shutdown. They are most likely struggling. You could send a note on why you chose a particular place and suggest they use it after we are all back out. Sends a great message and supports the community.
  2. Take my wife’s idea. Celebrate (a belated) Earth Day with a flowers, a plant or seeds for a garden. It is spring after all and we should be about to go enjoy it soon.
  3. Send a board game or giant puzzle for families that are staying at home right now (anything for a distraction).  
  4. Send a book. How about a good story, but also a lesson on overreacting in volatile times? Read Nick Murray’s review on The Undoing Project by Michael Lewis. This is not just for advisors!
  5. Don’t want to spend a lot? As a nice touch, go online to find (or even better, create your own) top binge shows or documentaries that you can recommend as they pass the time. Send it out in a blog or newsletter. If you can, make it interactive so you can allow clients to share their ideas too.

It doesn’t have to be big and over the top. A simple random act that says to your clients, “we are all in this together and we will all come out of it.” It says you care about more than just their money and the fees that they pay you. It says you are listening and can empathize with their plights. It says you care. 

Why not send that message to your clients and staff right now?


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