Navigating the Wave of Uncertainty: 5 Things Your Firm Can Do Today
Every day, our news feeds are jam-packed with the latest headlines about the devastating Coronavirus pandemic and the significant market volatility that has followed. Many of us can’t help but feel worried about our family members, friends, co-workers, neighbors, and clients. With every news notification, our world is changing by the day, making it impossible to think about what the future may bring.
But here’s what we do know: there will be a tomorrow. We don’t know what the next day, or the next week, will look like — but it’s time to borrow from the adage that you often say to your clients and direct your focus to the factors you can control.
Here are the top five things you can do today to retain more control over the future of your business, while simultaneously supporting your clients through these trying times:
1. Add Value
Now is not the time to inundate your clients with information that is tone deaf to what is happening around them or will not enrich their daily lives. Use this time to be a supportive force for positivity and to answer the real, pressing questions that are causing them worry or anxiety. When you are planning your communications efforts, make sure to speak directly to your ideal client — not the masses — and take time to think about what is most important to them.
For instance, if your primary clients are dentists, talk about how the new legislation under the stimulus bill may support the health of their dental practice. If your clients are retirees that are over 60 years old, start discussions about how the recent market downturn may affect their retirement time horizon. If your clients are already retired, share cash-flow management and income-preservation strategies. If you serve younger clients, discuss how they could be generating more wealth as a result of the downturn, since they can likely shoulder more risk during this time.
The point is, don’t force your clients and prospects to comb through information that is not important to them, especially when they’re already receiving a barrage of updates from the news media. By tailoring your communications efforts, you will showcase your expertise and understanding, as well as build credibility within your ideal client demographic.
And while you’re at it, don’t forget about the fundamentals. While the media is focusing on the minute-to-minute details of the market, a high-net-worth client in their 50s should be reminded about how proactive strategies like tax-loss harvesting can offset some of the downside. Advisors often take the behind-the-scenes fundamentals for granted because they are part of their day-to-day workload and thought process — but that’s not true for their clients.
2. Be There
While you practice social distancing, and follow the CDC and WHO guidelines for preventing the spread of COVID-19, it’s pretty difficult to physically be there for your clients right now — but you can think creatively and find ways to make your presence known from afar. Host a virtual client event. Make time in your calendar for 15-minute, one-on-one meetings to ask how your clients are doing. Send out a two-minute video recording offering your advice on the events of the day.
Most importantly, get comfortable with using our new normal to your advantage. For instance, hosting a daily Facebook Live check-in that covers one fact about the markets could be just what your clients need to start their day on the right foot. Your efforts will go a long way toward making your clients feel comforted and supported, even if you can’t sit across from one another.
3. Communicate Proactively
Let clients know what you’re doing for them behind the scenes and alleviate any concerns before they come up. For instance, explain to them how your portfolio management software is addressing asset allocation drift and automatic rebalancing. Fill them in about how you’re planning tax-loss harvesting strategies for losses and keeping an eye on fund and trading fees. It’s a great time to be fully transparent with your clients and give them full insight into how you’re serving them during this uncertain climate.
4. Give Back
As an advisor, you have a special talent — you are skilled at helping others and offering reassurance during major life milestones or times of crisis and panic. Now is one of those times. Reach out to your local community and find ways to support those who may be struggling, either financially or personally. Contact your local chamber of commerce and offer to host a virtual community webinar for business owners. Set up a survey ahead of time and answer the most-asked questions from viewers.
Though many of us are isolated and in self-quarantine, it’s actually the perfect time to reach out to your networks in a wide-net approach — virtually. By leveraging technology to get to the forefront of the issues affecting your local community, you’re not only helping others but creating credibility that can help you build relationships that last long after this pandemic is over.
5. Don’t Forget About Growth
As we struggle with the global and national effects of this virus, thinking about bringing on new clients may seem insignificant or impossible. But the economic ramifications of this crisis are severe and long-lasting. People are re-evaluating every aspect of their lives, including their finances. They may be looking for a second opinion on their investment strategy. The recent market losses may have compelled some investors to find an advisor for the first time.
So, if you receive a request from a client to help a friend or family member who is struggling, consider scheduling a meeting to see how you can assist. Contact your centers of influence and brainstorm ways you can band together to help your mutual clients navigate the weeks ahead. This is the time to emphasize the value of your service and expertise and use it to create positive change.
We’ll leave you with a quote from the writer, Ralph Marston:
“Your destiny is to fulfill those things upon which you focus most intently. So, choose to keep your focus on that which is truly magnificent, beautiful, uplifting and joyful. Your life is always moving toward something.”
Beyond AUM is here to support you and your advisory firm today, tomorrow, and well into the future. We’re sending you our best wishes for good health and for the safety of your family members, friends, and clients. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have questions or would simply like to talk through your thoughts and concerns.