It’s that time again: The year is ending, and advisors nationwide are preparing business plans for the next year. It’s a perfect opportunity to encourage your clients and prospects to take stock of their financial needs by conducting an annual review.
Annual reviews are fantastic opportunities to consistently evaluate your clients’ ever-changing needs, especially as they relate to easily overlooked issues like the changing of beneficiaries, policies for children and grandchildren, and retirement planning. After the hustle and bustle of the holidays and the new year, maybe people are motivated to get their financial affairs in order.
There are also productivity advantages to consolidating your annual reviews around a few key months of the year. By scheduling reviews around calendar dates instead of renewal dates, you can increase your efficiency. And, by doing this, you give your clients and prospects a timely reason to think about their financial needs each year.
To promote the necessity of annual reviews, you can leverage the buzz and timing of the new year to stress the importance of meeting with an advisor in a way that naturally promotes your practice.
Your clients and prospects will likely see stories from local and national news media that address finance. Many reporters will want to talk with local advisors. Will they talk to you? Media relations involve building and maintaining relationships with reporters so that they know who you are and are comfortable using you as a resource for their articles. Give your local newspaper, radio, television, and online publications story ideas about how a strong financial plan can benefit their readers. Underscore the importance of an annual review.
When articles on financial topics appear in national or local publications, send them to your clients and prospects. Because so many articles are published online, this can be as easy as forwarding a link to that publication’s or television station’s website. Or, embed that link into your website so that you can track which clients and prospects read it.
If you advertise to promote your practice, run a special ad about your firm. Offer a free, no-obligation consultation if people call your office or visit a specific page on your website. If you’re not advertising on an annual basis, consider advertising during the month of January. Measure the results and determine how to improve the return on your investment. One of the most basic marketing principles is that consistency (how often the ad runs) is key to your success.
You should already be communicating directly with your clients and prospects through direct mail and some sort of e-communications, which can range from a one-page e-flier to a multi-page quarterly e-newsletter. Use the new year as a reason to talk about the importance of an annual review and have a list of questions to ask as part of that review. Open the dialogue with those questions.
Identify popular local events like run/walks and health fairs. Visit the events this year to determine which will work best for you. Then, leverage your sponsorship through your other marketing initiatives leading up to and following next year’s event.
Because marketing happens in cycles, you can plan your Q1 marketing programs for future years by systematically building upon your successes. This also gives your existing clients a natural reason to meet with you at least once a year, which means you will build stronger relationships and obtain more referrals from them for new prospects.