We’re a confused nation! American families did not finish dinner before holiday shopping invaded Thanksgiving. The one day we pause for thanks is also the launch of retail madness. Now, we’re full into the holiday season of frenetic gift buying for family, friends, and clients.
Despite all this yearly rush to buy, research shows that more stuff does not deliver happiness or value. Even marketing experts suggest we focus on gifts of meaning, over money. Steve (not his real name) learned this dramatically with one of his investor clients.
During our coaching, Steve and I discussed how to deliver value to clients. I challenged Steve to drop efforts that were not truly meaningful. In particular, we discussed birthday and holiday cards. I told Steve: “As a client myself, I find most professional holiday cards completely meaningless. In fact, they can be a negative, if the card feels perfunctory. I know this is completely counter to what advisors are taught, but think about it.”
Soon after that discussion, Steve met with an investor client who worked with him and another advisor. During their meeting, Steve proposed consolidating all the assets and explained the benefits of working with one professional. Steve did not push the client. Instead, he suggested the client think about it and select the best advisor. The client thought for a moment and said: “Steve, I’d like you to handle all my assets. The other guy sends me birthday and holiday cards. I’m just a birthday and holiday card for that guy.” Steve was amazed and happy! Nicely, the value of delivering meaning, over stuff, was reinforced dramatically.
As you work through your client gift and card list, think how to reinforce true value throughout the year. While the cards and gifts are nice, your real gift to clients is thoughtful and meaningful care. That is what they will remember most!