4 Can’t-Miss Ideas for Memorable Client-Appreciation Events
Who should listen: Service professionals wanting ideas and best practices for planning client-appreciation events.
Key idea: The most important part of any client event is ensuring you follow up with attendees after the party.
Action items: Plan an intimate client event with a few key clients, and use the best practices offered in this episode.
It’s that time of year when people gather to celebrate with friends and family. It’s also when businesses and, in particular, professionals who depend on referrals, make plans for hosting client appreciation events.
During this week’s Silver Dollar episode, we share the benefits of client-appreciation events, including the referrals from appreciative clients; some best practices we’ve collected from past guests and a bit of research; and a list of events that real estate agents and financial professionals have used to thank their clients for being loyal clients.
Here we discuss 4 ideas you can use to plan memorable client-appreciation events that will have your clients sharing stories about how much they enjoyed themselves and are looking forward to your next soiree. When selecting from among the 4, consult your client database for shared interests, and plan the particulars around them. You don’t have to try to satisfy everyone with a single event—you can segment your list and plan several events throughout the year.
1. Sponsor a class
If you discover that people in your sphere share an interest in cooking, you could find a chef to teach a class about how to prepare a type of cuisine. If it’s travel, find someone to give a talk on the best sites to visit in a country, why a cruise is the ultimate off-the-grid vacation, or budget- and family-friendly destinations.
Tastings are always a popular way to bring people together and learn about foods and beverages. Chocolates, wines, spirits, gelatos, and ice creams, come to mind. So do tours of ethnic foods in city neighborhoods where authentic meals are prepared.
When planning a client-appreciation event where attendees have an opportunity to learn something new, the point is for everyone to have fun. Ensure that your expert not only knows their stuff but also is entertaining.
2. Support a local business or charity
Investing your time and money in the local community helps you to build trust with the people who live within its borders. And it’s easy to be generous while also showing your clients how much you appreciate their business and loyalty.
Consider sponsoring free hot dogs and beverages at a local Little League or soccer game in appreciation of the community’s support of your business. You could do something similar with the local high school football booster club.
While there is something to be said for ingratiating yourself with the larger community, if you want to focus on your paying clients, consider partnering with a local business to rent an entertainment venue for an afternoon or evening. As a way to say thanks, offer a few hours of free bowling, skating, go-cart racing, video game playing, batting practice, or another activity.
3. Create some quality time
You might decide to invite a smaller, more intimate group of clients to a special event where you can talk one-on-one with your guests. A dinner party at your home, a reserved room at a restaurant, or even a night of board games will provide the right atmosphere for conversations about topics other than business. An event of this sort could provide you with opportunities to request some feedback about your services.
4. Build a VIP culture
Few things make people feel special than being considered a member of an exclusive group. Not everyone gets to be a part of something exclusive; membership is by invitation only. As such, it’s rare and valuable. Creating an atmosphere of exclusivity is a surefire way to make your best clients feel appreciated.
A golf outing, where clients are encouraged to create a foursome and play a round on him, is how Mark Minor, the founder and CEO of Legacy Investment Services, Inc., shows his appreciation. It’s also how he maintains his half-billion-dollar book of business—3 of the 4 players in each foursome typically become warm leads.
Offering box tickets to a sporting event, complete with catering, is another example of how to create an air of exclusivity. So is any event that is held at a prestigious location, includes an industry influencer on the list of confirmed attendees, or is limited to a few select guests. The key is to make your clients feel like insiders who are privy to what others are not.
Consider these 4 ideas when planning a client-appreciation event, and you’ll be sure to win your clients’ appreciation as well.
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