Client Communications

There’s lots you can do to strengthen your bond with your clients

By Beatrice Paez |

As the year winds down and with the holidays fast approaching, now is a great time to reconnect with clients, says Sara Gilbert, founder of Strategist Business Development in Montreal.

The holidays present a good opportunity to express to clients how much you value their business — and how valuable you can be as their advisor.

Beyond giving your clients a gift as a token of appreciation, Gilbert offers three additional ways to approach your year-end communications campaign:

1. Personalize cards for top clients
Handwritten cards are becoming a rarity, but they haven't lost their ability to make an impact. Your holiday card should be a statement of your personality and an expression of your gratitude toward your clients, Gilbert says.

A corporate card with a generic holiday greeting and nothing else may give clients the impression that you delegated the task to your assistant. And an electronic card that can be dispatched en masse with a click can send the wrong message.

Instead, choose a card that expresses your individuality, Gilbert says, and write a personal message that reflects your relationship with that client. For example, take a moment to recall any milestones your client has reached over the past year and congratulate them.

Early December is usually the best time to mail the cards, to ensure they will arrive ahead of most holiday greetings, Gilbert says.

2. Send out timely reminders
In a separate newsletter, compile a list of upcoming deadlines that clients need to be aware of before the year wraps up, Gilbert suggests. You might notify them to take advantage of tax strategies or remind them of the final date to make contributions to registered plans such as RRSPs and TFSAs by sharing relevant articles on those subjects.

For example, 2016 is the last year that parents can claim the child fitness and arts tax credits, Gilbert says. With that in mind, you can suggest that clients pay for their children's recreational activities before Dec. 31.

"It doesn't bring much money for the advisor," Gilbert says, "but it's these value-added services show you're on top of things."

Time the newsletter's release for the last week of November, or the first week of December. (As with any electronic newsletter, make sure that clients have opted to receive it, so as not to violate anti-spam legislation.)

3. Compose a checklist for the year ahead
If you are worried that some important information will get lost or ignored amid the deluge of correspondence clients may receive this time of year, hold off until the new year, Gilbert suggests.

Put together a checklist that clients can follow to start the year on sound financial footing. You can also direct them to resources that help them review their financial circumstances. For example, you might remind them to take note of the maximum contribution they can make to their RRSP, and note the deadline.

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