The pandemic has been a great leveler. Regardless of your economic circumstances, everyone has been asked to self isolate and celebrate the holidays in a low key way. Sharing these experiences can bind you closer to your clients on a personal level. Remember: People do business with people they like.
1. How did you celebrate this year? In most cases, the answer will be either on their own or with immediate family. You likely did the same. With our overseas friends we intend to send two photos of our Christmas table: 2019, when it was set for 10 and 2020 when the same table was set for two.
The bonding: Your celebration and theirs were likely similar. You highlight the caution you exercised or the precautions taken with family members who joined you.
2. What did you serve? In many states restaurants were closed. People ordered take out or cooked at home. The latter was a new experience for some people. They liked it. Different cultures have traditional foods. No pandemic will stop their cooking those dishes!
The bonding: They describe their elaborate or low key meal. You do the same. As a point of comparison you mention what you usually do.
3. Religious services. Religion can be a delicate subject. You know the clients where it’s an appropriate topic. Statistics from 2015 show 61% of Americans attend religious services at Christmastime. How were they this year? Did they attend live or virtually?
The bonding: If you attended, you describe the experience. You contrast 2020’s socially distanced service with previous years. They do the same.
4. Did you decorate? Christmas cheers people up. The Hallmark channel discovered this years ago. You’ve seen their Christmas in July promotions. Some people started putting up Christmas decorations in early November! Other decided to skip decorating entirely, since they wouldn’t be having visitors in their home. Your client likely fits somewhere in the middle.
The bonding: They tell their decorating story. You tell yours. My wife and I have two mirrored heart ornaments. Each year, they are the first to be put onto the tree and the last to come down.
5. Let’s schedule that annual review. Clients love accountability. 2020 was a year like no other, yet the stock market was a bright spot. You held their hand. You answered their anxious questions. You provided guidance. You deserve some credit.
The bonding: Without discussing your own holdings you are communicating “We are all in this together.” You are giving a report card. Clients like report cards.
Often post holiday conversations are about vacations taken or gifts received. 2020 was a year with restrictions. Use it as an opportunity to get closer to your client.