Advisors’ conventional wisdom is that prospecting during the holidays is not productive. The assumption is that people are busy buying gifts or cooking or traveling. Think again, as the holiday season brings unique timely opportunities.
First, let’s dispel the idea that everyone is busy during the holidays and that December is not a good month to prospect. Your prospects age 65-plus may be more available than you realize.
Record number of single-person households
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there is a record 37.9 million single-person households in the U.S. And the demographic with the most single-person households is those aged 65-plus.
According to American Community Survey data cited in “The State of the Nation’s Housing 2022” report from Harvard’s Joint Center on Housing Studies, 28% of householders aged 50–64 were in single-person households in 2019, compared with 38% of those aged 65–79, and 56% of those age 80 and over.
The data does not imply that people living alone do not celebrate the holidays. But is it reasonable to assume that many of these older singles may not be consumed with gift buying, cooking for others, or decking the halls?
Age and health
We know that age and ill health are correlated. Older people may be less able or willing to travel. Add in the lingering Covid concern (look at the age of people wearing masks at the supermarket), and we can see the forces which dissuade senior travel. Any reduction in holiday travel means more seniors at home and more prospecting opportunities.
Additionally, by age 65, 75% of people are retired. Retirees are not inundated with a year-end workload or stream of holiday party invitations from co-workers.
It is also unlikely they have minors in their household. And for many families, the busyness of the holiday season is preparation for the children. In other words, retirees are not burdened with many of the holiday distractions of younger people. Anecdotal evidence that retirees are available to prospect
My primary prospecting method as a financial advisor was seminars. I invited people age 60-plus. During 15 years of experience, I was able to hold seminars as late as December 10 and have 65% of attendees set a time to meet over the following two weeks, through December 24.
I also used paid social media for senior marketing and received responses on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. These responses are simple proof that people are online and responding to financial topics 365 days a year.
My experience was corroborated when interviewing at a major investment firm. The firm had one of its top multi-million-dollar producers call as part of its effort to recruit me. He relayed that the week between Christmas and December 31 was his best week of each year.
I assert that the holiday season is more fertile for prospecting than assumed by many advisors. And if other advisors assume that these are unproductive weeks, that leaves you with less competition when prospecting.
Holiday time Is prime time for these financial topics
Whether you market using print, social media or digital media, you always need a headline. Below are headlines that create time urgency specific to the holiday season.
“Four Estate Planning Tasks to Do Before You Get on a Plane”
Although this may not result in immediate business, the purpose of marketing estate-planning ideas is to get the right people into your sales funnel. Your content will address the importance of having all documents prepared: a power of attorney, living will, springing power of attorney for retirement accounts, and proper beneficiary designations. Once people respond (e.g., download the pdf, watch your video, attend the webinar, click on your email, etc.), they become viable prospects for further marketing.
“Get This Big Tax Break Before December 31” or “Offset Your Capital Gains Tax Before December 31”
While tax-loss harvesting is not complex, I am certain there are billions in unrealized tax losses (and resulting tax savings) overlooked each year. Of course, this is also a topic for your existing clients. And anytime you meet with a client, you may uncover more business.
“The Best Time of Year to Make Double Gifts”
Using the annual gift tax exclusion, one can gift $16,000 per donee the last week in December and again the first week in January.
“Slash Your Tax Bill by 50% Before December 31”
You can discuss the idea of charitable contributions or charitable trusts and their immediate offset to taxable income. These holiday weeks are taxpayers’ last chance to offset a large tax obligation.
Holiday time is prime time for client referrals
What better time of year to hold a client event or a holiday party and have your clients bring friends? Do not be bashful about asking your clients to bring friends that could be your future clients. You can also provide an “incentive” as suggested below. Your best invitees are your single clients because they are more likely to attend with a friend.
Here is one invitation idea:
“I would like to celebrate the holidays with you so please be my guest at our holiday event. I ask that you also bring friends that may have an interest in my services in the future as this is the perfect informal event to meet. We will not discuss any business at our event — this is a time to meet and celebrate the season. Also, I make a personal contribution each year to (name of charity) and I donate $100 for each person who attends our celebration. So let’s make this a big contribution for (name of charity) by bringing your friends — the more the merrier! So bring your guests — neighbors, friends from church, or friends from your last job. Can you respond letting me know you will attend and the names of your guests?”
Here’s another alternative:
“I am having a local chef (name of chef) give us a class on how to make the perfect holiday dinner and I want you to be my guest! When (name of chef) does these events, he typically charges. However, you get to attend as my guest with the small price of admission — you must bring a friend! This will be a small event as I have invited 8 clients plus their friends. Be ready to learn new culinary tips and tricks for the perfect holiday meal! Please respond letting me know that you will attend with the name of your guest.”
Transform these last weeks of the year into some of your best times for prospecting. Happy holidays!
Larry Klein is a retired CPA and financial advisor and holds an MBA from Harvard Business School. He is the author of “Marketing Financial Services to Seniors.” Over 30,000 financial advisors have used Larry Klein’s marketing systems to gain clients. He provides client acquisition coaching to financial advisors.