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What sort of client hospitality should I offer?

What sort of client hospitality should I offer?

Alok Dhanda

Principal, Dhanda Financial

Newcastle-based Alok Dhanda says he has tried lots of different ways of entertaining clients, including charity golf days, networking lunches, parties and corporate packages at Newcastle United.

He believes that client hospitality is a good way of giving something back to clients. ‘The hand that gathers must give. Anything you give back to the client they appreciate,’ he says.

‘The best event is golf because it gives you a whole day.’ Dhanda invited along 40 current and prospective clients to his last golf day and was able to raise £5,000 for Marie Curie Cancer Care in the process. The day was topped off with a charity auction and prizes for all the golfers.

‘It works out well because we picked up three very good clients…the day definitely paid for itself,’ says Dhanda. ‘It is a very informal way to do business. I don’t say anything and I let my clients do the talking.’

Michael Wood

Director, Michael Wood Wealth Management

Wood takes clients out to lunch and has considered laying on more client hospitality but his practice already has a steady flow of clients.

Wood said he met new clients through referrals and networking at other people’s events. ‘I network in the organisations that my target clients are in like the Rotary Club and golf or dining clubs,’ he says.

Wood says his client lunches are relaxed and an opportunity for clients to bring up ideas or things they have been thinking about. ‘When we go out to lunch it is never something particularly posh – just around £20 per head,’ he says. ‘We just update the client and have a chat over lunch.’

Convincing clients to take time out for lunch can be tricky, he says. ‘Most of my clients are professionals like doctors so they don’t have time to come to lunch and they get enough of that with the drug firms.’

Paul Richardson

Managing director, Concept Financial Planning

Richardson says he does not have a huge expenses budget for client entertainment but does use the firm’s corporate membership at a local golf club to entertain clients.

‘When we play golf we normally bring along a professional connection and it might be one of their clients or ours,’ says Richardson. ‘It is as regular as we can justify it but we don’t always have the time.

‘When you have got four hours with a client you can cover an awful lot more than over a desk,’ he says. ‘You have got to get value out of it because it is a good half day away from the office.’

Concept Financial Planning is also sponsoring a tennis tournament at a local club at the end of July. The club, which has several clients as members, will invite between 40 and 50 guests to the all-day event.

‘The club will do most of the work but it will still need around five to six hours of planning,’ says Richardson.

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