Pro Tips

11 Distinct Ways to Recognize and Appreciate Your Top Clients and Advisors

by Tiffany Markarian

When delivering “White Glove” service, it is important to consider recognition and client appreciation programs that celebrate your top clients, advisors, and centers of influence. It’s one thing to process and service someone’s business; it’s another to keep your top relationships loyal.

Let’s face it. Client acquisition and recruiting is hard. Your top relationships have options when it comes to working with other competitors. The key is doing what you say you will do and recognizing your top relationships in meaningful, relevant, and unexpected ways.

Below are 11 distinct ways to foster cultivation. Most firms still utilize educational meetings, golf outings, holiday parties and hospitality cards…and these should be continued. But, how about getting even more personal and creative?

Client appreciation and advisor recognition is about giving the unexpected. 

1. Don’t Just Thank Top Clients and Advisors for their Business

Saying ‘thank you for your business’ is kind and customary, but it can come off as trite and impersonal. Consider thanking your top relationships for the work they do on behalf of others. 

For individual or business clients, acknowledge the leadership they provide their family, their employees, or their community in fostering a secure lifestyle and financial future.

For advisors, thank them for the effort and expertise they deliver to their clients. Acknowledge your top advisors for their continued knowledge and dedication to uphold and protect their clients’ economic and emotional security.

Perhaps one of your advisors was instrumental during a particularly complex client case. Thank them for being aware, diligent, and ultra-attentive. Acknowledge their personal skills.

2. Reverse Swag

We all love to send customized swag or gifts with our company logo. Swag items can be cool, but they’re all about you. How about sending gifts to your top clients or advisors with their logo or last name on them.

For instance, if you know one of your top clients has a large extended family or office staff, send them a box of baseball caps personalized with their last name or company name. This will get you talked about during your clients’ family get-togethers and might even get you tagged on their social media.

Perhaps you saw a family picture that your top advisor posted on social media. Download the picture and order them a customized holiday ornament or frame the photo for them. Companies such as Zazzle make the customization process quite easy. 

There are other important milestones you can recognize for your top clients and centers of influence. You might capture the year your top relationships first started their career or recognize the year they started their practice. Celebrate their business anniversary with a personalized gift.

3. The New Yellow Pad

Many financial advisors and business owners still use a yellow pad for taking notes during prospect and client meetings. Send your top relationships a new yellow pad in a nice leather padfolio; however, fill in the first few pages for them.

Have each of your staff members write a personal note on the first pages of the yellow pad identifying all the things they appreciate and admire about that advisor or client.

It will warm their heart in an unexpected way, and they will read your special notes any time they are having a bad day or need a morale boost.

4. The Blue Blanket

We all know a top client, advisor, or one of their family members who has become critically ill. A cancer diagnosis, heart attack, or accident can be one of the most terrifying ailments someone can go through – not to mention a challenging treatment and recovery time.

Consider sending these clients a light blue, oversized, luxurious blanket. A plush blanket is one of the most appreciated gifts when going through a medical treatment or difficult time. Light blue is a healing color, and when you combine it with a super-soft blanket, you make the recipient feel extra comforted and cared for.

You can include a note with your gift that says:

“Hoping this blanket brings you comfort and protection as you go through your healing. We are thinking of you and are here for you.”

5. Apple Pie Delivery for July 4th or Thanksgiving 

Sending a giant apple pie to your top clients’ office or home provides an element of surprise. It’s an unexpected gift your clients or advisors can share with their family or office staff during the holidays.

6. Show Social Media Love

It’s one thing to ‘like’ a random social media post. It’s another to be intentional about it. Pick a consistent day each week to research what your top relationships have posted. Then, don’t just like their posts. Go further and comment or share their posts. It will boost their digital algorithms as well as their ego.

7. Google Alerts

If you haven’t heard of Google Alerts, you might be missing out on an important free cultivation tool. Google Alerts helps you stay up-to-speed on things you want to monitor – including the names of your notable top clients, companies, or industries you want to stay abreast of.

If you work with someone who is prominent in their industry or a CEO who is in the press frequently, you can set up a Google Alert on that person’s name or company and be alerted when they hit the web (i.e., if they show up in press releases, are quoted in the news, posted a blog/article, etc.).

Google Alerts do just that – they alert you via email. All you do is enter a key word, name, etc. and how often you want to receive alerts. If one of your top relationships is in the news, you can send them a handwritten note, post a congratulatory message, tag them on social media, or call them to extend your congratulations.

You don’t need to tell your top relationships that you set up a Google Alert on them. However, when your client says, ‘thank you’ and asks how you stay up to speed on so many things, you can tell them, “I make it a point to always know what is happening with my top clients.”

8. Elite Service Models

Some insurance firms employ a case management model where submitted applications are assigned to a case manager, but not necessarily a dedicated case manager for the top advisors in the firm.

Top advisors enjoy building a relationship with a dedicated person who gets to know them and the method and manner in which they like to do business.

Additionally, you might consider going beyond case status updates and emails. Your top advisors could earn a personal weekly one-on-one via Zoom or phone call to go through their cases in greater detail.

9. Red Carpet Office or Zoom Experience

When a top client or advisor stops by the office or has an important virtual meeting with a member of your firm, make sure everyone is aware and rolls out the ‘red carpet.’ Strategically have members of your staff pop in to greet the advisor or client by name and express their appreciation to see them.

Don’t just let the advisor or client drop off a document or a piece of business. Acknowledge their presence and provide a ‘wow’ experience.

10. Send Lunch or Dinner During Stressful Times

If one of your top clients or center of influence has been working particularly hard on a project, or they are dealing with grief or loss in their family, send them lunch or dinner from an online delivery service to their office or home. This works particularly well for CPAs during tax time or benefits advisors during open enrollment!

Taking the time to order a hearty meal for someone demonstrates your thoughtfulness, particularly when they are dealing with something stressful in their business or personal life.

11. Be Reliable

All we have in business is our reputation and good name. Being reliable is not new, but it bears repeating. No amount of inconsistent or lackluster service can be fixed with a gift, client appreciation event, or ‘thank you.’ Top clients do business with firms who do what they say they will do – and do them well.

In other words, your entire staff needs to be trained to show up on time, keep their promises, quickly respond to requests and issues, and embody your firm’s value proposition on a daily basis.

The Benefits of Client Appreciation and Advisor Recognition

Showing genuine appreciation for your top clients and advisors fosters a sense of trust, loyalty, and connection. Clients and advisors are more likely to continue working with a firm that values and acknowledges them personally. When people feel valued and recognized they are less likely to seek opportunities elsewhere.

Focusing on recognition and appreciation programs has the added benefit of fostering a positive team environment. It encourages a sense of unity among your firm which boosts overall motivation, morale, and satisfaction. 

Tiffany Markarian11 Distinct Ways to Recognize and Appreciate Your Top Clients and Advisors

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