Surprise and delight your clients

5 steps to take your client appreciation to the next level

Recognizing clients with tokens of your appreciation can go a long way toward strengthening your relationship. And you can make your gesture truly memorable with a gift personalized to your individual client, delivered at just the right time.

The first step to showing clients you appreciate them is by understanding their passions, their values, and even their aversions. You probably get to know your clients on a personal level when you meet with them. You can turn those personal connections into meaningful gestures by creating a system that helps you deliver tailored expressions of your care and gratitude.

Just remember: When giving or receiving gifts, always check with SEC regulations as well as your firm's policy to ensure you're in compliance.

Here are five steps to help you take client appreciation to a new level.

1. Evaluate how well you know your clients. To start, take inventory of how much you know about each client's personal life, background, and interests. Then look for areas where you could dig deeper. Consider adding this exercise into your preparation before your next client meeting.

Ask yourself these questions about each client:

  • Who are the people most important to them? (Have you met or worked with any of these people?)
  • What are their hobbies or passions? (What level? Beginner, aficionado?)
  • What critical experiences have shaped them?
  • What places or traditions hold special meaning for them?

If your knowledge is lacking in a certain area, create a reminder in your CRM to try to learn more. Revisit these questions periodically to add new insights.

2. Find out how they cope with everyday challenges. The main highlights of a client's personal life, such as a passion for surfing or annual trips to Paris, might reveal themselves early on in your relationship. But the way a client manages the ups and downs of daily life can help you understand them more deeply. To get at these details, ask how they're handling a current challenge, such as the rigors of life during the pandemic. Their answers—perhaps ways they keep their kids busy during the work day or how they are keeping in touch with friends and family—can give you insight into a gift or gesture of appreciation that might be particularly welcome.

3. Learn about their new interests. As clients move through different stages of life, their old passions may take a backseat as new interests emerge. Maybe they've started restoring an old boat, taken up dance classes, or begun learning a new language. Recognizing and encouraging these new paths can give your client a boost as you cheer on their personal growth. Inquire about new interests or passions, then seek out and send a well-regarded book or timely article on a topic they mentioned. Your clients' interests may also lead you into relationships with new prospects: For example, after you express interest in your client's sailboat, you might join in a day of sailing and meet several of their friends.

4. Keep track of your efforts. Taking a systematic approach to client appreciation can make your job easier and help you identify highly personalized gifts. Use your CRM program to jot down personal details you can refer back to later and notes about gifts you've sent or are planning to send. Before each meeting or call, review these personal details to refresh your memory and make note of topics to revisit or follow-up questions you want to ask. Recording the little personal asides that come up during your conversations can help you tailor your client gifts to the individual and find ways to reach out when it matters most.

5. Look for unexpected opportunities to show you care. Sending a thoughtful gesture when a client is going through something difficult or a congratulatory gift to mark a special occasion can be a great way to show you care. In addition to those opportunities, consider sending a gift or note out of the blue, just because you were thinking of them. The element of surprise can help your gesture stand out and make your token of appreciation more meaningful. You can even pre-schedule these "spontaneous" gestures in your calendar.

Let clients know you hear them

As an advisor, you know well the importance of relationships. When clients feel seen, understood, and valued, their trust in you grows deeper. Finding ways to show your appreciation through gifts and messages that demonstrate your personal connection can help you develop the strong ties that keep your clients endlessly loyal.

What you can do next

  • Keep these best practices handy to help you surprise and delight your clients and find more ways to help clients feel valued.
  • Consider a custodian that invests in your success. If you're thinking about becoming an independent advisor, contact us to learn more about the benefits of a Schwab custodial relationship.