Sending hand-selected books to clients and prospects is smart. One gesture accomplishs three major goals for your business:
- Shows thought leadership. Clients and prospects want to work with a thoughtful practitioner, someone who loves ideas and knowledge. Just as the books you display in your office reveals your mind, the books you send to clients can likewise demonstrate your thought process, as well as your commitment to their well-being.
- Deepens relationships. Many of the books you send will be about non-financial topics. Some of the book ideas will come from other clients, and may be more inspirational, than educational in nature. The books may be part of your formal “on-boarding” process, giving new clients the royal treatment – or sent on special occasions to existing clients. Books can start a conversation, and enrich existing relationships.
- Opens the door to new business. A well-chosen book can show that you understand a prospect’s needs – and place you on a faster track to win their account. The right book at the right time can let the prospect know you are a committed problem-solver for their financial difficulties.
Here are six book recommendations from three financial advisors who use books routinely in their business:
Half Time: Moving from Success to Significance (2008) Written by Bob Buford, a Christian media pioneer and board member of the Drucker Institute at Harvard Business School, this book has inspired millions of individuals entering the second half of their lives. It would make a perfect gift for clients or prospects taking early retirement. John Sulhoff, CFP, at Private Client Advisory, sends this book to male clients as part of his “red carpet” process for new clients.
The Happiness Project: A One-Sentence Journal (2011) by Gretchen Rubin. The Happiness Project One-Sentence Journal helps people create a unique time capsule in five years of their life. After reflecting on the quote at the top of the page each day, they write one sentence (perhaps about something good that happened that day). As the years go by, the entries evolve, leaving a profound sense of accomplishment. John Sulhoff sends this book to his female clients and prospects.
Leading with Honor: Leadership Lessons from the Hanoi Hilton (2014) by Lee Ellis. Ellis was an Air Force pilot who spent nearly six years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. This inspiring book shares the principles Ellis learned while in captivity and how these principles can help others remain committed to a mission despite horrific obstacles. John Sulhoff sends this book to centers of influence and clients in leadership roles. And the author, Lee Ellis, is a client, which makes the gift more personal.
Frommer’s Travel Guides For clients getting ready for a big trip, nothing beats a Frommer’s Travel Guide. It shows how to experience the local culture, provides detailed maps, language tips, and hotel ratings. Keri Suarez, business development manager at Wales and Associates, in St. Joseph, Michigan, says her advisory team routinely handpicks travel guides for clients. “When we learn of a client’s upcoming trip, particularly when it’s a first for them or something very unique, we send them a travel guide along with a handwritten note from their advisor well in advance of their trip. Our clients love this and it really goes a long way in deepening relationships.”
Coin: The Irreverent Yet Practical Guide to Money Management for Recent College Graduates (2013) by Judy McNaryWritten a financial planner. This book is hilarious, and helpful at the same time, offering new college grads tips on saving, avoiding and paying off debt, and how to car and house purchases. It also covers insurance and retirement. Patsy Nodilo, CEO and portfolio manager at Pathlight Investors in Phoenix, sends the books to clients with college-aged children.
Rework (2010) by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson the creators of 37 Signals, a web development company. Rework shows entrepreneurs how to succeed in business by ignoring the typical rules of engagement, and pursuing their own path of genius. This inspiring and unique book makes a great gift for the business owner clients on your list. “Sending this book to people who I respect has actually helped open some pretty important doors for me,” Sulhoff says.
So what are your favorite book ideas? Use the comment section to share the books you’re sharing with clients.