So this picture right here is the holiday card I received from our property and casualty agent for Thanksgiving. I guess I should give them props for using Hallmark, but they didn’t care to send their very best when they mailed me a card:
- …using an automated service
- …and I’ve still not heard from this agent personally since I joined State Farm nine months ago, but they are helping my life “go right” like the card says, um…right?
I cannot stress the urgency of what care looks like to consumers today when it comes to your financial services practice. Care is not the sending of a card. I couldn’t give a rat’s patootie about the card. I would much rather have this agent call me sometime and ask, “How are things going, Sheryl?” and starting a discussion than this dumb card.
In social media, I use automated posting services to make sure posts get out on my platforms in a timely way. However, I balance this with lots of personal services. I respond in real time to folks who message me. I send personalized birthday greetings to my LinkedIn connections (and I have 3,834 connections before you tell me that’s a lot to do). I write out every single holiday card by hand and have never used an automated card service.
You might have thousands of clients. YEAH! Then start early. I highly urge you to either stop sending automated cards which just end up in the trash anyway or start earlier in the year in prepping those cards so you can hand-sign each one of them.
Think of it like this: What on earth makes any holiday card that is completed by an automated service any different than a client’s American Express bill? Only the printer it came off of, not you.
PICK UP THE PHONE AND CALL EVERY SINGLE CLIENT
It might sound weird for a social media person to tell you to use conventional tools like the phone, but do it. If you are working with clients and in essence taking a paycheck from them in some way (through commission and/or fees) are they not worthy of a phone call at least once a year?
The only reason I have not fired my State Farm agent is because the actual company of State Farm does an awesome job of insuring my home and our gigantic pool. They were dynamite during a roofing claim this summer. They fixed everything (a brand new roof on the house and on the pool house) all in less than three weeks. (And no- this State Farm rep never once contacted us to see how things went. #eyeroll)
STOP BOX CHECKING!
Holiday cards are simply a box-checking item anymore. I can almost imagine a group of folks sitting around in a meeting and someone says, “Oh, it’s the holidays, we have to order the holiday cards.” CHECK A few weeks later the cards come in, “Oh, we have to mail out the holiday cards now.” CHECK
Think about why you send out the cards. You want to be grateful; that’s truly wonderful. Is there a way to be different, though? To be innovative? Maybe a holiday in July and then you surprise your client’s with a big holiday bash during a time of year when everyone is not so stressed out. Are they really going to miss out on your Holiday Card #482910 from OfficeMax? [Hint: the answer is “no”.]
If you want to really care then stop automating your feelings. Pick up the phone, talk to your clients, learn something new about them. And do everyone a favor and stop the obligatory card mailings, they just end up in the trash like the one in the picture above I shared.
Be bigger, better, and more BIONIC today!
Sheryl Brown | @BIONICsocialite