With a strong vaccination rollout and states nationwide removing COVID-19 restrictions, everything is starting to feel “normal.” While we’re all likely going to keep up some of our pandemic practices – for example Zoom meetings and hybrid office models – there will certainly be a return to in-person meetings and events. So, how can we navigate this move? How can advisors capture this moment to create opportunities for their business?
Regardless of if you’ve stayed in front of your community during the past year and a half, now may be a great time to make your presence known. Hosting a gathering that brings your community together should be welcomed by your clients and prospects and doesn’t need to be a big financial drain for your business. In our opinion, there is no better time than the summer to set up an outdoor experience for your customer base. Setting up even a small event that gets people out of the house and focused on reconnecting could go a long way in positioning your team as a part of that community.
Know Your Audience
You know your clients and prospects – you understand their goals and what they hope to achieve financially. What you may not know is their comfort level regarding COVID protocols. Mask or no mask? Vaccinated or not? Are they sticking to outdoor events with social distancing? Are they ready to go inside? Do they want space between tables or are they ready for full capacity? There is no fixed rule yet for what people are ready for – the easiest way to know is to simply ask. Check in with clients on what they are open to during your scheduled calls. Even consider sending out a quick survey checking in and seeing what people are comfortable with. Everyone is navigating this move together, and it's important that you do not create unnecessary barriers to success by making your attendees uncomfortable for any event. However, it is important to have empathy towards any fears or concerns that may still be relevant to some.
Share Your Message
While these events can be focused more purely on your firm, they do not have to be. One option for these events is to make them educational. Hosting a talk about college savings or tax planning can be a good way to find prospects, but these are certainly not the only way to let people know what you do. Simply getting your community together gives ample opportunities to network with individuals, share your firm’s story and philosophy, and hopefully spark some interest with prospective clients. For example, a golf outing for the community can be a low-pressure way to meet prospects and let them know what your firm is all about.
Engaging with your community can mean more than supporting your own business – it can be a way to give back. Using the strength of your network to support local charities, businesses and organizations can further connect your firm to your community while supporting the success of those working in and for that community. By partnering with charities, local organizations and industry groups for your events, you can serve as a connector between your existing clients and prospects and these outside groups, giving them a much-needed boost. These partnerships are mutually beneficial, immediately broadening the audiences for both your firm and the partner organizations, bringing together a more diverse audience that may be larger than either group would be able to bring together on their own.
Working with these outside organizations can also help to bring in sponsors if you are looking to put on a larger event. Many of these groups hold other events and may have a network of sponsors who frequently like to contribute. On the sponsorship note, there is also an opportunity to sponsor outside events held by these partners – if hosting your own event is not in the cards this year, see what other local groups are doing and if they are looking for sponsors or co-hosts.
Putting some additional resources behind the event can help to make it an even bigger draw for attendees. One recommendation is to consider adding a giveaway for attendees. Think if there would be any good door prizes or raffle items to offer, or potentially just some fun swag for people to take as they leave. Adding a raffle to the event can also incentivize attendees to come early-on and stay until the end of the event, with a chance of taking home a great prize. Another way to make these events a cannot miss is to bring in some local artists or perhaps a band to play for the event. This not only makes for a fun atmosphere, but it also has the potential to bring in a new crowd that is coming to see the band. This also allows for your team to support local initiatives further connecting you and your business to the community you serve.
With July 4th coming fast, BBQ season is in full swing. Start to plan your event(s), determine who you’d like to attend, and spread the word. Share the event on social media and tap any partners, team members and family to help promote. We think Summer is a great time to start meeting clients and prospects again in-person, and we recommend getting started now.
Trade-PMR, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC