Everyone can’t wait for 2020 to be over. Have you ever seen such enthusiasm for the New Year to start? Okay, maybe for the millennium, but we had Y2K to worry about then. Unfortunately, your clients might be waiting for someone to blow the “all clear” whistle and tell them life is back to normal. They are matching in place, not making decisions. Here are a few ways to get them moving.

These ideas are both personal and business focused. By getting the personal ones done, clients should be more receptive to the business ones.

1. Plan their next vacation. Most of us feel the vaccine will be widely distributed by spring, borders will reopen, ships will sail and international flights will be practical. Let's not wait until the last minute.

Action: Suggest that your clients book their next vacation now. Cruise lines and airlines are taking reservations. Hotels, too. Most seem to have liberal refund policies. This will give your clients something to look forward to!

2. Plan their anniversary dinner now. Group gatherings have been actively discouraged for almost a year. They seem irresponsible. Like vacation travel, this should change soon.

Action: Your clients should book their big anniversary dinner or intimate getaway now. It might be months away, but you can probably lock in better pricing now. It’s another date on the calendar to look forward to.

3. Tell a client you are taking them out for their birthday. You missed it during 2020. You made a Zoom call, but it wasn’t the same. 

Action: Plan a nice meal in a nice restaurant. It’s you, the client and their spouse. Now we start to move into the business realm. In addition to a date to look forward to, it’s something they can tell their friends about. “My advisor is taking me out for my birthday!” It gets them thinking about their other advisors. Did they even call to wish them a happy birthday in 2020?

4. Their annual bonus. It likely comes at the end of January. It’s probably not as big as other years, but it’s still a bonus. You want that money to come into your firm.

Action: There’s a case to be made for a few options. They can be investment dollars. They are likely pleased with their performance. It might be a cash reserve. You could hold it here. They might pay down credit card debt. If you work at a firm affiliated with a bank, the card might be with your company. In this last case, you are doing good even if you aren’t making money.

5. Annual portfolio review. Let’s start with the financial plan review. Retirement is the major goal for most people. Are they on track? Has the good stock market helped them to leap ahead?

Action: This gets clients thinking about retirement. Possibly early retirement. Can you show them a path to early retirement that might work if they consolidated more assets with the firm? Reduced their expected lifestyle expectations? Downsized or sold vacation property to free up cash for investments? They will probably welcome these “what if” scenarios.

You are an optimist. Share some of your enthusiasm. Get your clients thinking about future happy times in a post-pandemic world.

Bryce Sanders is president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc. He provides HNW client acquisition training for the financial services industry. His book, “Captivating the Wealthy Investor” can be found on Amazon.