As we approach the holiday season, the question of how best to show your appreciation for your clients’ loyalty is raising its head. In an age of social distancing and safety concerns, open houses and cocktail parties are no longer a viable option when it comes to ways to show clients your gratitude. Even in normal years, various holiday events or other traditional ways to show thanks may get lost in a sea of seasonal activity. While no one says no to a cookie plate or fruit basket, they have become expected and usual. To really make an impression, consider less-conventional gifts and events that take into consideration your clients’ concerns, originality, and referral opportunities that will allow you to continue to market yourself while you also show your clients you care.

One event that can be very welcome is hosting an end-of-year shredding event. You can set this up in the parking lot of your business, hiring a shred truck to come for a few hours and set up shop for your clients to bring their old documents. An event like this is not difficult to prepare for and advertise. Keeping it outdoors increases the safety protocols, and the invitations can be included in a paper holiday postcard or via emails or a combination of both. Don’t underestimate the importance of reminding your clients that their friends are also welcome. Casual conversations with potential clients over a bin of decade-old statements might seem inconsequential, but you may be surprised at the way a conversation can develop into a planned meeting and a new relationship.

In a year where many have been made aware of  the challenges facing others even when they themselves feel more secure, your clients may be more appreciative of a gift to others rather than a gift of caramel corn delivered to their own door. Charitable gifts to local organizations, donated in your clients’ names, show that you understand your clients’ priorities outside of just their own financial goals and that you are involved in your own community as well. In a season of giving and family, this kind of outreach has multiple benefits to your clients, your goodwill in your community, and to the benefited charitable organizations. It’s hard to find another option that is as much win-win as this one.

If you do want to give an actual physical gift, consider something that will allow for a personal touch with minimal contact for safety. There are opportunities for referrals in seasonal gift giving as well. For example, a postcard sent out to your top clients inviting them to pop into your office for a complimentary holiday wreath is a great way to have limited but some face-to-face time with your clients when they come to pick up their décor on the chosen day in early December. However, you can take this event to another level of marketing by making that card have two ‘coupons’ for free wreaths, one for your client, and one for them to give to a friend. It may start out as a way for someone to get a free holiday decoration, but this kind of referral, a cheerful fun way to meet a potential client, can set up a great foundation for a new business relationship.

When considering holiday appreciation for your clients, it’s important to make sure that your choice has your own unique mark on it. Your clients know you, and the uniqueness of your brand can be on display in something as simple as your logo colors on the holiday bow on the wreaths you give as gifts. Show your clients you appreciate them in your way, while ensuring you respect their safety and support their goals at the same time this holiday season.

Mandy Szewczuk

More about the author: Mandy Szewczuk

Mandy works with advisors as the lead of Evolution Financial Advisor’s virtual assistant program and is part of the marketing and events team.