Keeping in regular contact with clients demonstrates the value an adviser can add, increases client retention and helps to grow business via referrals.
“But we must be careful not to overload or spam them,” says Paul Young, head of business consultancy at Quilter Financial Planning. “Keeping it pertinent and relevant is the key.
“One of the things we do is offer our advisers access to a message calendar, which gives them a range of specially designed messages that vary for each month of the year.
“Some are obvious and driven by key set dates such as tax-year end, UK Budget statements, corporation tax, the self-assessment cut off, etc. Others are designed to reflect the seasons and any salient messages currently topical.
“And they are all refined using behavioural economics, wherever possible, to help the impact for the reader.”
The power of dates
Greg Davies, head of behavioural finance at Oxford Risk, says that salient dates are a powerful behavioural tool in getting people to act. “We are all often reluctant to tackle daunting or disruptive tasks in the moment.”
Davies says almost any date representing the start of a psychologically new time window can be effective, and it does not have to be financially relevant. “So, the start of the new year, or at the beginning of the month can be useful, as can the ‘back to school’ effect in September.”
Lisa Caplan, foundation financial planning director at Charles Stanley, agrees: “With people eager to start the year on the right foot and often making New Year’s resolutions linked to getting their health and finances in shape, New Year can be a great time to talk about getting on top of your finances and the benefits this can have to your overall wellbeing.
“In the same vein, advisers can also tie in with the idea of spring cleaning your finances.”
Davies adds that even more effective is if advisers can use personally salient dates, such as birthdays and life events, to ensure that engagement is aligned to personalised moments when receptivity is high.
“There are also times when people are reviewing aspects of their financial situation in other ways – such as renewing a mortgage or planning for specific future financial events such as retirement – when they are already primed to be thinking about their finances, and introducing additional services is less likely to be a disruptive stretch from other things they are already thinking about.”
Deadlines can no doubt kickstart action. “It is after all human nature to leave things until late in the day and so there is nothing like a deadline to prompt people to act,” says Jason Hollands, managing director – corporate affairs at Tilney Smith & Williamson.
But there are also other touch points throughout the year that present opportunities to engage with clients, adds Hollands.
“These include major fiscal events, like Budgets, as well as on the back of important data releases such as inflation updates or interest rate announcements from the Bank of England. When markets have seen dramatic moves, these are times when clients will be reassured to hear from their adviser.”