Home Month and Year October 2023 From transactions to connections

From transactions to connections

The family-focused approach to client appreciation


In any industry, from financial planning to real estate to legal and more, fostering meaningful client relationships goes beyond delivering top-notch services or products. It is about creating connections, making clients feel valued and showing them that they are more than just a transaction.

Family-friendly events are a strategic approach to building and strengthening client relationships while allowing a company or individual to connect on a more personal level. It is a unique opportunity to learn more about clients’ lives outside of work and understand their values and priorities. This can go a long way in deepening the client-professional relationship.

These types of events also provide a more natural way to meet other family members. Conversations are more organic allowing for a more genuine bond that goes beyond the office walls.

Tricia Leadbeater is a portfolio manager, investment advisor at Richardson Wealth. Though she has hosted traditional client events in the past, she aims to do more inclusive family events to enrich the client experience and make the connection for a potentially long-term relationship with the entire family.

“I view my business from the lens of developing very long-term, personal and multi-generational relationships. I have worked with many of my clients and their families for years and in some cases over two decades. Events that are of interest for a family allow us to get to know each other better and for me to show my appreciation for the relationship.”

She adds, “I will usually host events that touch on leading a good life and connect to the ‘why’ of their investment goals: connecting to the community, learning about healthy living, ideas on how to be a philanthropist are some examples. I think they benefit the company by showcasing our company values and culture in a tangible manner.”

Some of the family-friendly events that Leadbeater has hosted in recent years include being a speaker on financial investment topics such as family values and how to think about wills and passing on family values to the next generation, hosting a film festival event that touched on aging and dementia and inspiring treatments, theatre nights and curated museum tours and receptions.

For Leadbeater, these types of events are a way to stay connected and engaged with her clients. “I enjoy hosting events that enrich life in general and allow all to appreciate our city via an introduction to experiences they may not otherwise know about. It is also a way for people to have fun and get to know each other and meet new people.”

Clients want to work with professionals who not only deliver what they promise but also show that they care about their overall success and happiness. Hosting family events is a sensible way to demonstrate this care. It communicates an investment in their long-term satisfaction, not just short-term gains.

Calgary-based realtor Catherine Chow goes above and beyond for her clients. While many realtors focus solely on buying and selling properties, Chow takes it a step further by hosting family-focused client events like bowling night, cooking classes and more. For her, it is a way to express her gratitude and let her clients know just how much they mean to her.

“Real estate transactions are often deeply personal. I always look for opportunities to connect with my clients with the aim of fostering stronger relationships beyond the professional realm.”

Family events allow Chow to meet her clients’ family members in a casual and natural setting. Instead of asking for introductions, these events facilitate organic interactions, helping her understand her clients’ lives and priorities better.

“These gatherings allow me to add value beyond real estate while giving me the opportunity to showcase my personality and interests outside of the office. It also allows people and their families to do things and go places they normally may not have the opportunity to do or to go to.”

While client events are often intimate gatherings with opportunities to connect, Chow makes it clear that they are not platforms for sales pitches or business asks. The primary purpose is to demonstrate the benefits of being a client and building genuine relationships. They also cultivate loyalty, which contributes to client retention. “When they think about real estate, I want my name to naturally come to the forefront.”

Litco Law CEO Todd Litwiniuk says personalized family-focused client events and interactions are important for the firm. “As a company that has been family-owned and operated since 1976, we have always had a focus on family. Up until recently we haven’t done a lot of specific large-scale events for this purpose because those interactions are already happening on a one-to-one basis. We incorporate it daily because it springs naturally from the relationships between our team members and clients.”

He adds, “We really listen and get to know our clients and what’s important to them. Once we get to know them, we can tailor our event and community involvement from there, and it’s more personal.”

As for the benefits, Litwiniuk explains that putting a focus on family shows that the firm is not just providing a service and “calling it a day” but rather demonstrating that “we want to know the story behind the face.”

Litwiniuk says their firm wants to host more family-focused client events moving forward. “We recently opened offices in Red Deer and Lethbridge, and instead of a traditional ribbon cutting ceremony in an office setting, we are holding big outdoor family BBQ events and inviting the whole community to join in on the celebration. All clients and community members are welcome. We will update our social media channels with locations and details.”

Planning an event can feel overwhelming and if a company or individual has never planned one, it can be challenging to figure out the who, what, when, where and how.

Managing director of MK Consulting Inc., Morgan Scott says, “Event planners can play a pivotal role in executing successful family-focused client events. They bring expertise in orchestrating every aspect of the event, from concept to implementation, ensuring that the event aligns with the company’s objectives and client preferences. At MK Consulting Inc., we work closely with companies to understand their brand identity and the specific goals of the event, tailoring the experience to resonate with both clients and their families.”

She explains that event planners do all the planning, which allows companies or individuals to focus on what is important: the client. “Event planners focus on the finer details, creating an atmosphere that fosters meaningful interactions and connections between clients and the company. Their creativity and attention to detail contribute to crafting memorable moments that solidify client relationships and reflect positively on the company’s commitment to client satisfaction and engagement.”

“Family-focused client events create a platform for networking, sharing experiences and generating positive memories, which can enhance client retention and encourage referrals. Ultimately, they help companies establish a positive emotional bond with their clients, leading to long-term partnerships and increased brand advocacy,” says Scott.