Seven Tips for Organizing Successful Client Events

Client conferences and breakfast/lunch seminars are excellent forums for asset managers to deepen client relationships, showcase their firms’ intellectual capital and raise the visibility of a greater number of team members. Organizing and hosting these events, however, can be time-intensive and expensive. You want to make sure the events are well-attended, clients find the time valuable and the results warrant the investment.

Here are Seven Tips to help ensure successful events.

1. Know Your Objectives

What do you want to accomplish by hosting a client event? Perhaps it is retaining clients during a period of underperformance. Showcasing your firm’s intellectual capital. Introducing new team members and/or new investment offerings. Learning more about your clients’ interests, needs or concerns. Defining your objectives in advance will help you organize an event that attracts clients and accomplishes your specific goals at the same time.

2. Assign a Strong Project Manager

Every detail matters. Having a proficient project manager who manages the event planning and implementation, timeline and follow-up is essential. A well-run event is a reflection of a well-run asset management firm.

3. Create an Engaging Agenda with Timely, Relevant Topics

Provide your clients a list of topics you are considering, and invite them to submit additional topics they would like you to address. You will then be able to prioritize topics of greatest interest to clients. Include a combination of internal and external speakers whenever possible. Invite external speakers who will be a strong draw. Avoid salesy commercials for your firm or traditional strategy presentations.

Schedule the right amount of time and frequency – generally 1½ days for a client conference, and 2 to 2½ hours for a breakfast or lunch seminar. Every other year is generally ideal for conferences. Regional seminars in cities where you have concentrations of clients can be scheduled annually. Institutional clients and consultants receive a lot of invitations and are selective about those they attend. It is always best to avoid times when other big industry conferences are being held.

4. Communicate and Inform

Use a multi-dimensional approach. Inform clients in advance with “save-the-dates” and formal invitations. During meetings and calls with clients in the months preceding the event, have client service and sales professionals encourage clients to attend. Internally, communicate the event, objectives, internal roles and responsibilities, and clients attending to event participants and to all employees. Communicate details firm-wide about any clients who may also be visiting your offices. Prepare all employees to be welcoming, professional, gracious and helpful.

5. Prepare

Prepare “welcome” bags with appropriate gifts (e.g., books authored and signed by event speakers, sunscreen if event is held in a sunny location, snacks, etc.). Elicit ahead of the event any special needs of clients who will be attending (e.g., handicap access, dietary preferences, transportation, reporting requirements for value of meals, etc.). Be sure these needs are addressed.

Have presenters practice both presentation content and delivery. Test all technology and equipment. Ideally, have all the presenters rehearse in the event venue using the technology (e.g., slide advancer, laser pointer, teleprompter, etc.). The more natural and conversational the presenters are, the better. Moving around on the stage rather than standing behind a lectern is optimal for engaging with your audience.

6. Maximize Opportunities to Interact with Clients

Create an event that is as interactive as possible. Encourage audience questions and engagement. Use audience members’ names and your colleagues’ names, and smile! Ask relevant questions using electronic, real-time polling tools to show results (for larger forums). If the event is held off-site, invite clients to visit your office before or after the event. Assign a “concierge host” for each client. Time permitting, give an office tour and introduce as many of your team members as possible. Offer meetings with portfolio managers and other members of your team. Learn if any clients would enjoy social interactions.

7. Debrief and Follow-Up

Schedule a date for the internal team to discuss what worked well and what would have made the event, presentations, venue, and logistics better. Did you achieve your objectives? Invite client feedback on the event. Ask what they found most valuable. What would have made the event better? What topics would they like addressed at future events? Thank them for their time and participation, and send a summary of key take-aways from the event. Also provide any specific follow-up requested by clients during the conference or office visit/tour.

“Every contact we have with a client influences whether or not they’ll come back. We have to be great every time or we’ll lose them.” ~ Kevin Stirtz

Do you have any tips or suggestions for organizing successful client events? Please comment below and share this article if you found it helpful. Stay engaged by following us!


Charnley & Røstvold, Inc., a preeminent marketing consulting firm to asset management firms ranging in size from start-up firms to some of the world’s largest investment firms with over $1 trillion under management. Charnley & Røstvold helps clients with competitive positioning, marketing strategies, key messages, presentation refinements, communications and sales training, consultant relations and client service programs.

Christine Røstvold, co-founder of Charnley & Røstvold, Inc., is a popular industry speaker and author. Christine was a founding board member of PAICR (Professional Association for Investment Communications Resources), and served on the Advisory Board for more than a decade.

Resources to Hone Your Communication Skills: 2016 Edition

Charnley & Røstvold has had the pleasure of working with hundreds of investment industry professionals over the past three decades helping them prepare their content and delivery for a variety of scenarios, including:

  • Introductory prospect meetings
  • Final presentations
  • Due diligence meetings with consultants
  • Client retention meetings
  • Client cross-sell meetings
  • Team presentations
  • Individual speeches or board presentations
  • Client conferences

When coaching investment and distribution professionals alike, those who have advanced the furthest and become stellar communicators share several attributes: ongoing commitment to improvement, receptiveness to constructive coaching, willingness to rehearse, and initiative. The results – a bounty of new clients, accounts and assets won; multi-millions of dollars of accounts and assets retained; increased number of favorable consultant rankings; and higher win ratios. Preparation makes a difference. So does attitude.

People often ask us to suggest books and resources with valuable insights for enhancing content and communication skills. Below are some of our favorites.

Books

  • TED Talks: The Official Ted Guide to Public Speaking, by Chris Anderson
  • Team of Rivals, by Doris Kearns Goodwin
  • Speak Like Churchill, Stand Like Lincoln, by James C. Humes
  • Presentation Zen, by Garr Reynolds
  • Think on Your Feet, by Keith Spicer, Ph.D.
  • It’s All in Your Delivery, by Terri Sjodin
  • Gravitas: Communicate with Confidence, Influence and Authority, by Caroline Goyder
  • Power Questions, by Andrew Sobel

Videos

  • Ted Talks (www.ted.com/talks) are a valuable example of brief presentations by strong presenters (in particular, Amy Tan and Susan Cain)
  • Steve Jobs, a master!

Articles and Speeches

  • “Your Speaking Voice,” by Toastmasters
  • “Creating a Voice with an Executive Presence,” by Kate Peters
  • “How to Give a Presentation that Wows,” by Bill Blasé
  • “Proper Breathing in Public Speaking,” by Katherine Axtell
  • “Dialog vs. Divalog: Listening for Greater Impact as a Speaker,” by Kate Peters (www.katepeters.com)
  • “Overcoming Speaking Anxiety in Meetings & Presentations,” by Lenny Laskowski
  • “The Eloquent Woman,” by Denise Graveline
  • “Stop the Run-On Sentence in Public Speaking,” by Nancy Daniels
  • “Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are,” by Amy Cuddy

Blogs and Other On-Line Sources

Regular Practice Forums

  • www.toastmasters.org Toastmasters provides one-hour practice sessions once a week that strengthen your body language, voice modulation and overall presentation delivery skills significantly. The practice sessions also help you pay closer attention to your language choice and raise your comfort level in communicating with people.

Vocabulary Builders

Do you have favorite resources for insights on enhancing your communication skills to suggest? Please comment below and share this article if you found it helpful. Stay engaged by following us!


Charnley & Røstvold, Inc., a preeminent marketing consulting firm to asset management firms ranging in size from start-up firms to some of the world’s largest investment firms with over $1 trillion under management. Charnley & Røstvold helps clients with competitive positioning, marketing strategies, key messages, presentation refinements, communications and sales training, consultant relations and client service programs.

Christine Røstvold, co-founder of Charnley & Røstvold, Inc., is a popular industry speaker and author. Christine was a founding board member of PAICR (Professional Association for Investment Communications Resources), and served on the Advisory Board for more than a decade.