What is a TAMP? title card.

Advisor-Client Events Have Changed

For the past two years, we have faced this large absence of physical connection in our lives—it cascaded into the microscopic details of our everyday routine. Transitioning the breakfast table into a classroom, eating at your favorite restaurant through takeout or delivery, and attending meetings via Zoom instead of driving to the office.

As we slowly begin to revert to our old patterns, it’s a strenuous feeling to have to merge those two lives we created because who even knows how to handle in-person interactions anymore. How long has it been since we physically connected while receiving non-verbal input, shared by a handshake, or, better yet, a hug from a dear friend or client?

I recently came back from my first in-person client event since the world capsized, and to say the least, the space has changed—there were differences in not only the way the event was facilitated but even how clients engaged with the advisor and me…and it was a success!

As soon as I spoke about this event to other advisors, it triggered questions. Most advisors haven’t hosted an event yet and looked to this one as a guinea pig.

How did it go? What did people think? What did they do?

As other advisors are putting their own client events on the calendar, they want to get it right. No one should be starting from scratch, but sometimes it feels like we’re entering uncharted waters of post-pandemic, in-person client events.  

This article is meant to share five tips and observations to help advisors navigate the new normal while getting the most out of seeing their clients outside the zoom box.

Definition of "TAMP"

However, one thing that has not changed is how you begin the process of planning an event. As Stephen Covey said, “Begin with the end in mind.”  

Before we dive into the specifics, ask yourself, “what are your event’s goals and desired outcome?” Everyone is different. Think about whether you’re there to finally have facetime with clients, if you want to plan a fun activity, or if you want it to be family-oriented, etc. No matter how you approach it, remind yourself these events are meant to show client appreciation. (And generate a buzz about you and your practice, not sell sh*t.)

For the event I recently attended, the advisor’s focus was for clients to see them again, face to face, in a casual atmosphere, reconnecting and forwarding their relationship. Nothing more, nothing less. No sales or product discussion. Not a formal office meeting (as many have finally been able to do recently), just engage in the moment…together.

1. Event Format

Keep it informal—it takes the pressure off. If the event is meant to come at their leisure, there’s no reason to have a presentation set up. However, if there’s an official arrival time, prepare a few words and say something before everyone begins to mingle but keep it short and sweet.

Invite fewer people for a more intimate event—maybe only your top-performing clients? It will allow you to spend more time and have meaningful conversations with the people that help you grow your business.

If you’re looking to invite all your clients, don’t be afraid to book multiple events with gaps in-between. It could be breakfast and then brunch or two back-to-back drinks and appetizers on the same night. This allows more flexibility for those that accept the invite to choose a specific time that fits their schedule while keeping the event on a smaller scale.

Different types of TAMPs.

2. Venue Selection

Before you strategize to find the perfect venue, you must know your goal—how you want to structure the event will determine the type of venue you select. So, if it’s warmer weather, consider a patio or facility with “garage doors;” it’s an idyllic way to blend inside and outside while keeping fresh air circulating.

Furniture is everything and something that always doesn’t come to the top of mind. Standing tables can create a pleasant flow and keep clients moving rather than having tables with assigned seats.

P.S.A Google isn’t always reliable when it comes to hours of operations, so double-check and confirm with the venue. (Thanks, Covid.) 

Different types of TAMPs.

3. Invitation and Invitees

Even though many states have lifted the mask mandate, many people still prefer to wear them—let them know (in the invitation) it’s a personal choice and remind them there is no judgment either way. You may want to take an additional step and offer a virtual option for those who aren’t comfortable or still prefer the convenience of not leaving their home (or changing out of their gym shorts and yoga pants).

It’s always better to inform the clients what to expect with the size of the event. Knowing it’s a limited number of people allow anxious clients to be put to ease about capacity and large gatherings. This also comes back to the venue; if it’s outdoors, let them know (and have a contingency for bad weather).

Different types of TAMPs.

4. Additional Preparation

We are in the 21st century, so if there are ways to make the process smoother, why not implement them into your event? Have you thought about QR (or NFC) business cards—they can take clients to your website or any information you want to highlight like reminders or resources you think would be helpful. And bonus, it’s effortless because everyone has a phone. After all, unlike a paper card, web pages can’t be dropped on the ground.

This experience is all about your client, so don’t let them pay for anything. Everything from food, gifts, and travel is a cost you should cover—expense all Ubers, Lyfts, and taxis (if anyone still takes those anymore). Don’t forget to involve your partners, we are always thrilled to support our advisors as they support us with their trust and business in whatever capacity makes sense for the event and vibe you are shooting for.

Lastly, not to be that person, but does your business casual event outfit still fit? “Covid-15” is a real thing, so don’t pick out an outfit one hour before the event. I realized my closet morphed to 90% sweatpants and slippers over the past two years, and that won’t cut it; it’s never enjoyable to do last-minute stress shopping.

Different types of TAMPs.

5. Expect the Unexpected

Of course, there is more of a desire to meet face-to-face again. Zoom was a great alternative to stay connected, but most of the time, it’s strictly business.

The part about the human connection is that we laugh and celebrate one another—life events and milestones are meant to be shared, which is harder to do over a video conference.

Having a place to meet and devour tasty food and drinks will undeniably be more relaxing for clients as more people strive to get out, and it will hopefully expand your brand and business.

Clients appreciate gestures—grand or small; they want to know they are valued, not an afterthought.

Disclosure: This information is prepared for general information only and should not be considered as individual investment advice nor as a solicitation to buy or offer to sell any securities. This material does not constitute any representation as to the suitability or appropriateness of any investment advisory program or security. Please visit our FULL DISCLOSURE page.