When the economy is booming, clients are happy with the financial plans you’ve worked to put into place with them. When it takes an inevitable dip, clients may panic. This is where they need their advisor’s understanding and knowledge.
At the 2008 Top of Table Annual Meeting, which occurred during a global economic crisis, MDRT members shared a few ideas that worked for them.
Rely on trust
I don’t do anything special during times like these. I remind them that their investments are long-term money. If your clients trust you, they know it will be OK. It’s really just holding people’s hands.
— Marc David Goldstein, AIF, RICP, New York, New York, 10-year member
Keep clients calm
I leave an extensive outgoing message for my clients that I update each month. The message should simply be the same thing you would tell a client who came in for a face-to-face visit. Be sure to get the message approved by compliance, even if it is the same approved content that is on your Web site or in an e-newsletter. Because it’s a different medium, it needs separate approval.
— Donald P. Speakman, MSFS, a 42-year member from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Make contact first
Trust is invaluable in this current climate; therefore, I work on the principle that it is better for the advisor to contact the client before they contact us. Naturally, clients are concerned about their hard-earned money. I assure them of the following points to help keep this crisis in perspective:
- The planning we have in place was the best advice at the point of sale.
- Every individual is affected by this global crisis.
- Be patient and ride through the storm.
- We are there for them at any time.
I work on the premise that we need to spend some time in front of these valuable clients during times like these. As a result, we have received new business. It may be difficult now, but they will appreciate it in years to come.
— Iris Anderson, Cork, Ireland, 22-year member
First published in the January/February 2009 issue of Round the Table.