Some advisers believe that December can be one of the most productive months of the year, while others feel that due to the bustle of the holiday season, clients are less interested in learning more or reviewing their financial needs. I know from years of coaching advisers that those who plan and have a solid strategy tend to finish the year out strong!
So the time is now to ask yourself “What can I do this holiday season to make the most of the time I have left in 2013 to ensure my business finishes strong?”
Most advisers don’t ask themselves this question until it’s too late. Many are too busy working in their business to take a minute to strategize about working on it. Does this sound familiar? If so, let’s take a look at some simple seasonal strategies for making that final push before the New Year arrives.
Tax Loss Selling
If you focus more on the investment side of your business, you already know what I mean by “tax loss selling” —selling out of investment positions that have an unrealized loss to make them a realized loss offsetting any realized gains. This is a service that should be well thought out before implementing and should be customized for each applicable client. It can be a valuable service for those who have a high realized gain for the year.
The Good Will Client Campaign
Although you may think clients know how much you appreciate them, it never hurts to remind them. What better time to say thank-you than during the holiday season? Send a customized basket of holiday goodies, a hand-written holiday card or third, or simply call them to wish them happy holidays. A little holiday cheer is always welcomed.
Acknowledge Support Staff
Creating and maintaining a successful advisory practice is seldom an individual endeavor; no one person can do all things. When you have numerous clients, it becomes even more apparent that having a great staff is imperative. Take the time to tell those who have helped you succeed—administrative staff, back-office support, wholesalers—how much you value their services. They will appreciate the gesture.
Take Time to Plan
After another busy year, it is best to take time to reflect on what worked and what didn’t for you and your business this past year. Be sure to set aside some time before the New Year to plan and prepare a new (or refreshed) “blueprint” for your business. This way you can look forward to January and your commitment to starting the year off with a dedicated vision.
Take Time to Rest
Years ago I had a branch manager who would personally visit each adviser’s office and suggest that they take the entire time off between Christmas and New Year’s. He believed that having those seven days to spend time with family was important, and I believe that as well. Take time to rest and simply turn the business “off” for a few days. If you are concerned about last-minute client needs, check your messages/emails once a day to ensure there are no emergencies.
Daniel C. Finley
St. Paul, Minn.