It's Christmas afternoon, the family is round the tree and comfortably numb after the traditional feast. The fire glows brightly as yet more champagne and mince pies are passed round. The children are playing with new toys and Dad is scrutinising the instructions for his iPod. It's a picture of peace, joy and family harmony.
Meanwhile, in a small village in Surrey a financial planner is drawing up his plans. Other than a quick break on Christmas and Boxing Day he’s gearing up for one of the most unexpectedly profitable periods of the year.
Keith Churchouse of Churchouse Financial Planning’s e-Christmas card arrived in my inbox recently wishing me a Prosperous New Year. It’s not that he’s being stingy on cards because the money saved is going to charity. But the card does make a point of saying that he will be open between Christmas and the New Year. I’m invited to make contact over the Season ‘should I feel the urge’.
Surely the period between Christmas and New Year is a time when his top clients will be relaxing with their families? Perhaps Churchouse has some administration work to catch up on and this is the time he is least likely to be disturbed?
Not a bit of it. Churchouse knows from experience that immediately after Christmas is a key time in his financial planning calendar. For lo, previous years have shown that as Dad connects his iPod to his computer and registers for his first Podcast, the true power of the internet becomes apparent.
Seemingly alone in cyberspace, Dad surfs and surfs the world wide web until serendipity draws him by an invisible thread to…websites on personal finance. Who would have predicted that at this precise moment in time on this day of the year he would be looking at websites on financial matters? But the nature of the internet is that we are inevitably drawn to places we want to go.
It’s only a matter of time before he finds www.advicemadesimple.com and before he knows it he’s exchanging emails with Mr Churchouse. That’s the magic of the internet.
Keith tells me this is no coincidence. Year after year, he has discovered profitable new
clients in the few days after Christmas. Usually they are earning around £200,000 and either work in the City or in the Professions.
Amazingly, I still meet IFAs that tell me in all seriousness that “…my clients don’t use the internet”. The reality is that the internet is now integrated into the lives of many, many people of all ages – huge numbers of whom are their clients. But are you meeting their online needs?
Make one of your New Year Resolutions to have a closer look at how the web can benefit your financial planning service.
Philip Calvert is sales director at FinanceCube.
The views expressed are those of the author and not those of the company he represents.IFAonline
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