Creating Client Events that Educate, Engage & Delight

“When it comes to delivering a great client experience, events are crucial,” emphasizes William Chettle, Head of Client Experience & Advisor Services at Symmetry Partners. “Events can not only help you build stronger relationships with clients, they can be a significant engine for firm growth,” he adds.

Client events can also be an impactful marketing tool. In fact, 52% of businesses believe that events provide the greatest ROI compared to other marketing strategies.[1] And 74% of event attendees agree that their opinion of a firm improved after attending.[2]

In addition:

  • 97% of marketers say in-person events are crucial[3]
  • 93% believe in-person events provide attendees with a valuable opportunity to form in-person connections in an increasingly digital world[4]
  • 93% feel that providing attendees with an event experience personalized to their interests is important[5]
  • 60% of business leaders believe that events are critical for company success[6]

“Post-pandemic, it’s vital for Financial Advisors to get out there and see clients in person,” says Lindsay Soulia, Chief of Culture & Engagement at Symmetry Partners, “Hosting client events helps rebuild those connections.”

Client events can be a valuable way for you to show appreciation, provide education, and expand your network through introductions. Events can create opportunities to engage and delight clients—and enrich the business-social experience.

But how can you successfully plan and execute events for your clients? And what types of events deliver the greatest impact?

The Event Planning Process

Organization is key. The process should begin by defining the “why”—the event’s purpose and objectives—which is imperative because 95% of marketers believe in-person events can help achieve business goals.[7]

Also, without a “why” Lindsay notes, “there’s really no reason to host an event.”

Client events generally fall into one of three categories (with some overlap):

1. Client Appreciation

These relationship-building events aren’t about selling. Instead, they’re an opportunity to build trust and loyalty with your clients and remind them of the value you provide.

Sometimes, these can be social events where clients bring family and friends, which maximizes the opportunity for you to get introductions to guests they invite.

The focus of a client appreciation event should be on enjoyment and entertainment exclusively—without any business content or discussion.

2. Educational

Education is a priority for many clients. Workshops, panel discussions, and lunch-and-learns can provide clients with information and insight about topics that matter to them, such as estate planning and philanthropy, tax management, education funding, and making the most of their retirement. You can present the information yourself to highlight your expertise or invite a guest speaker, such as a center of influence (COI).

You can also use the event to educate attendees about the range of services you offer, which can be beneficial since 65% of consumers say they better understand a product or service from live events.[8]

And remember, if you’re hosting a “fun” client appreciation event, like a wine tasting, you can add an educational component, so attendees can learn more about how the wine is made and what it pairs well with. Encourage clients to invite family and friends to increase your chances of gaining introductions. Educational events can also be attractive to prospects—but will require you to market actively.

McDermott

3. Prospecting

While client appreciation and educational events include some organic prospecting, prospect-specific events, such as a seminar, provide an opportunity for you to showcase your value to people outside your network. Advisors who focus on prospecting events make a science of them, tracking analytics, including attendance, appointments, spend, and ultimately ROI. Prospecting events need to be held regularly and consistently. Doing just one or two and stopping is unlikely to yield meaningful results.

Event Logistics

With a “why” in mind, the next step is to create an agenda, including your “who” (target audience). Then create your attendance list. Finally, determine the logistics: where, when, how, and what.

Your “where” and some elements of your “when” will be determined by the type of event you’re hosting.

Depending on the event, Thursday evenings (Wednesday evenings are the next best choice) between 5:00 and 7:00 p.m. are the preferred time and day. For planning ahead, think six to eight weeks. Send a reminder two weeks prior to the event. The day before the event, send another reminder to those who have RSVP’d letting them know you’re looking forward to seeing them.

Personal touches go a long way. If you’re looking to increase attendance, pick up the phone. Most people are inundated with emails and may not always see a social media announcement. Calling a client or prospect to personally invite them to an event you’re hosting is a unique personal touch.

“Another great personal touch is calling event attendees the day after the event to find out how they enjoyed it and see if they have any questions,” recommends Lindsay. “A Connecticut-based Advisor we work with says that this simple act has led to more business one third of the time.”

Your “when” also covers frequency.

“It’s important to regularly host events—especially those that focus on client experience. If you’re only hosting one event every two to three years, you may as well not bother,” says William. “Some Advisors host large annual events, which gives clients something to look forward to,” he adds.

In terms of “how,” Lindsay cautions, “It’s almost impossible to run an event and be part of it. If possible, unless your event is small and uncomplicated, don’t be responsible for the logistics. Bring in a caterer or an event planner, as needed.”

Also, consider pairing your event with other professionals for a more impactful event that cross-promotes your businesses. For example, collaborating with a nutritionist and a yoga instructor for an overall wellness event where you can discuss financial wellness.

Maximizing Introductions

Events can be a golden opportunity for introductions. Regularly hosting events (e.g., quarterly) where clients can bring guests can amplify or even take the place of introductions.

If you’re trying to get people to bring guests, tickets are essential. For instance, say you’re hosting a night at the opera. You could “gift” each invited client two additional tickets to the event. These tickets are viewed as an item of perceived value and something that shouldn’t be wasted, which encourages your clients to bring friends or colleagues to your event. And tickets help significantly limit no-shows.

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Educate, Engage, and Delight Your Clients

The “what” element of your event is essential.

“Be thoughtful about the type of event you’re hosting, Is it big? More intimate? Whatever the case, make it different, not the same old format with a sit-down chicken dinner and a product pitch by a wholesaler,” suggests William.

Think about the types of events you’ve been invited to and the types of activities that interest your clients. Are they seasonal? Formal? Informal? Tied to a cause?

Are there events your clients would like to attend but the logistics are too complicated? For example, one Washington, DC-based Advisor charters a bus for her clients during the annual Cherry Blossom Festival. She handles parking and transportation, providing catered food on the bus ride.

Looking for additional ideas?

  • Cater a dinner party at your home
  • Invite clients and prospects to seasonal events (e.g., viewing holiday lights, apple picking, beach- or lake-side cookout)
  • Rent a theater inexpensively for a matinee or movie morning (Saturday mornings are very inexpensive)
  • Take clients and prospects for a round of golf
  • Foot the bill for four to six couples at a favorite restaurant to celebrate a client’s milestone birthday or other special occasion
  • Scoop for a cause with an ice cream social and food drive

Hosting a charity event or fundraiser shows you have an interest in supporting causes. “And asking event attendees to participate in something like a toy drive or a food drive at any type of event is a no-brainer,” says Lindsay.

Additionally, if you’re hosting an event with tables, such as a high-end educational event, you can ask someone to host a table. That way they’re more likely to fill it with potential prospects.

Finally, think about ways to extend the life of the event. Take plenty of photos and share them with clients, post them on your social media, use them in an upcoming newsletter, and add them to your website—especially if you have an Events/Past Events page.

“You can even go an extra step by taking a group photo (or even having a photo booth) at the event and sending a framed photo to each client,” suggests William.

Ready to learn more? Register to attend our webinar “Creating Exceptional Events for Clients and Prospects” on Tuesday, March 19, at 11:00 a.m. EDT.


Information is intended for Financial Professionals. Symmetry Partners, LLC is an investment advisory firm registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The firm only transacts business in states where it is properly registered or excluded or exempted from registration requirements. Registration with the SEC or any state securities authority does not imply a certain level of skill or training. No one should assume that future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, product or non-investment-related content made reference to directly or indirectly in this material will be profitable. All data is from sources believed to be reliable but cannot be guaranteed or warranted. 

Symmetry provides this communication on this site as a matter of general information. Information contained herein, including data or statistics quoted, is from sources believed to be reliable but cannot be guaranteed or warranted. Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may not be reflective of current opinions or positions. All content on this site is for educational purposes and should not be considered investment advice, recommendation, or offer of any security for sale. Symmetry Partners does not provide tax or legal advice and nothing either stated or implied in this material should be inferred as providing such advice. Symmetry Partners does not approve or endorse any third-party communications on this site and will not be liable for any such posts. 

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[1] Salvatori, H., “Metrics That Matter: 68 Event Statistics You Need to Know in 2024,” Cvent, January 2024.

[2] Flynn, J., “20+ Compelling Event Industry Statistics [2023]: How Events Improve Marketing,” Zippia, February 2023

[3] Zippia

[4] Event Marketing 2020 Benchmarks and Trends Report, Bizzabo

[5] Bizzabo

[6] Zippia

[7] 80 Event Statistics You Need to Know for 2022, Visme

[8] Visme

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