Select Investor Profilechevron

What type of investor are you?

Individual Investor
Institutional Investor
phone iconContact
pdf download icon

5 Ways to Show Client Appreciation


You have no business without your clients – that's a fact. So, it’s in your best interest to do everything you can to show how happy you are to work with them. Taking the extra step to show your appreciation and care can result in immeasurable loyalty and impact your retention and acquisition efforts in surprising ways.

Below you’ll find ideas to help you potentially encourage a less transactional and more intimate relationship with your clients. Choose what will work best for your firm, your clients, and your resources.

1. Personalize Your Outreach

Your clients deserve to feel special, and personalized outreach is arguably the best way to demonstrate that you care. Canned, automated communication is often a necessary part of doing business and maintaining efficiency, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore opportunities for more intimate conversations.

There are so many opportunities to show your clients you’re paying attention and aware of what’s happening in their lives – many of which can also help you stand out from your competitors. One way to achieve this is by acknowledging key milestones:

  • If a client’s child or grandchild graduated and is entering college, send them some branded gear to share in the excitement.
  • If a client’s child (or your client) is getting married, send a gift – even better if it can be personalized, like a monogrammed cutting board (newlywed) or handkerchief (parent).
  • If a client is purchasing a new home (including a vacation home), send a gift certificate to a local restaurant to help them celebrate.
  • If a client is retiring, send a gift to help them relax and ease into their new life, like a bottle of wine, a book, or a gift certificate to a spa.
  • If a client is welcoming a child or grandchild, send a cute outfit or toy.

Holidays offer another opportunity for personalized outreach. Pick a few key holidays to target each year and send a card that includes a handwritten message, directly from you. If you really want to stand out, you could also consider purchasing customized, branded cards for this purpose.

Finally, set a calendar reminder and send a quick check-in email to your clients on a regular cadence. Keep it short but ask how they’re doing, what’s new, and if they want to chat and catch up.

Put this into Action:

Start with what feels manageable – likely a check-in email – and build your outreach program over time. While personalization is key, that doesn’t mean you can’t start with a simple fill-in-the-blank template. Open with a greeting, casually explain that you’re checking in to see how they are and what’s new, and then ask a few very personal questions based on what you know about them (their families, their hobbies, etc.).

2. Host a Client Event

Virtual and in-person events can show your appreciation while deepening relationships and elevating awareness of your brand. The type of event you plan should align with your growth and retention goals, as well as your budget. Some potential considerations include: virtual or in-person, educational or fun, client-focused or family-focused, and if guests are welcome or not allowed.

Here are seven event ideas to inspire you!

Put this into Action:

Every good event starts with a rough plan and timeline. Map out your guest list, venue, date, decorations, food/drink, giveaways/swag, invitations, etc. – and assign dates for every task – before you get started so you can stay on top of planning and nothing falls through the cracks.

3. Offer Value Beyond Your Paid Services

Supporting your clients beyond your standard services can showcase your expertise, address their pain points, and help solidify your position as their go-to advisor – now and in the future. You could:

  • Offer to meet with their children and do a basic financial plan free of charge, including how to save for college or pay off student loans.
  • Start a cross-sell conversation by offering a basic service free of charge.
  • Send a weekly or as-needed synopsis on what’s happening in the markets and economy and how it could be impacting their portfolios.
  • Make introductions to other reputable Centers of Influence who could be members of their team (accountants, real estate agents, physicians, etc.).
  • Provide access to robust, intuitive, and interactive financial planning tools.
  • Have materials ready on financial topics that are often of interest to investors but not necessarily covered by advisors, like open enrollment (how to select a best-fit plan) or credit card options (how to maximize rewards).

Your investment expertise will likely show up in their returns, but your ability to show that you care about their total financial picture is what can help drive loyalty and referrals.

Put this into Action:

Pick one area of focus. Determine what, if any, materials you need. Then keep track of how often you’re able to offer the service – and how many clients accept. Reevaluate every quarter to assess if you should change your approach.

4. Make Your Meetings Feel Special

If your clients come into your office for one-on-one meetings, make them feel special from the moment they enter the door. Start by ensuring someone is ready and available to greet them. Once they’re settled, offer a beverage and/or snack (or have a station prepared for this purpose so they can help themselves while they wait). If you can, find out what your client prefers to eat and drink (sweet, salty, tea, coffee, etc.) and personalize your offerings just for them – they'll definitely notice!

End the meeting with a small gift of appreciation based on your knowledge of the client’s unique interests and your own segmentation. For example, if you segment your clients into three tiers (top priority, middle priority, lower priority), you could end the meeting by giving your top clients who love to golf a certificate for a lesson with a pro, a middle-tier client a high-end branded golf polo, and a lower-priority client a package of branded golf balls. The same could apply for any type of interest or hobby, from reading, to cooking, to traveling.

Put this into Action:

Not sure how to segment your clients? The easiest way is by AUM or profitability. Pick the thresholds that make sense, and the number of tiers, assign each client to a tier, and then reevaluate every six-to-twelve months. Those tiers can help dictate a number of ways in which you service and offer additional value to clients.

5. Listen and Empathize

One way to show appreciation for your clients is simply to treat them like humans. Every interaction should be an opportunity to learn more about their hopes, fears, challenges, goals, hobbies, and more. Much of this should be highly relevant to your planning and recommendations, but it’s also critical to building a trusting and lasting relationship.

Put this into Action:

Almost every guest on Harbor’s podcast, The Active Advisor, has reinforced the importance of listening to and empathizing with clients. As one advisor said, it’s important to not lose sight of what advisors really exist for, which is a relationship with a client! He suggested following the 90/10 rule – let the client talk 90 percent of the time and condense your piece to 10 percent.

Your primary, day-to-day focus is likely executional, growing your business and providing wealth management services. But, finding the time to go the extra mile, to deliver a truly memorable client experience, can be a significant differentiator – and lead to lifelong relationships. Take some time to think through what makes the most sense for your business, outline a plan, and get started. Your clients will likely thank you!

Harbor Capital Advisors

Harbor Capital Advisors is an asset manager known for curating an intentionally select suite of active ETFs from boutique managers. Advisors looking for distinct and differentiated investment options for their clients’ portfolios often connect with our passionate obsession to find what we believe to be the best – bold solutions that have the potential to produce compelling, risk-adjusted returns.

For more information, visit

Important Information

Investing entails risks and there can be no assurance that any investment will achieve profits or avoid incurring losses.

These views are not necessarily those of the Harbor Investment Team and should not be construed as such. The information provided is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as a recommendation to purchase or sell a particular security.


Blue Background

Connect with us | LinkedIn Logo IconLinktree icon to podcast media links

Harbor Funds Distributors, Inc. is the Distributor of the Harbor Mutual Funds.
Foreside Fund Services, LLC is the Distributor of the Harbor ETFs.
FINRA Brokercheck logo in white color

Investing involves risk and the potential loss of capital.

Investors should carefully consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses of a fund before investing. To obtain a summary prospectus or prospectus for this and other information, click here or call 800-422-1050. Read it carefully before investing.

All trademarks or product names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners. Copyright © 2024 Harbor Capital Advisors, Inc. All rights reserved.