During the financial crisis of 2008-2009, Bryon A. Holz, ChFC, CLU, wanted to find a way to calm clients’ concerns. So when he mailed information to clients to explain market changes, he attached a “calming chamomile” tea bag.
The 24-year MDRT member from Brandon, Florida, has always believed in “sense-sational” service — as in, service that incorporates the senses. Holz is not mailing tea bags during the current, coronavirus-based crisis because of sensitivity to unexpected packages. He has, however, found new ways to communicate and connect with his pre-retiree and retiree clients, for whom he handles investments and life insurance.
This goes beyond email, snail mail and social media, though Holz has done a lot of that as well to share information about investments, financial scams, mental-health recommendations and more. For clients within a 15-minute drive, he has personally dropped off information about products and services. For each, he includes a roll of toilet paper and either wine or a gift card for carryout/delivery from a local restaurant.
Clients know Holz is coming by but don’t know about the gifts they receive, and the whole process is touchless.
“It’s just another way to connect and show we care,” he said.
Fortunately, Holz has been set up for a situation like this for a long time. Two years ago, he hired a scheduler to schedule teleconferences with clients, not to replace in-person meetings but supplement them and help connect more regularly. So their practice has been extremely busy and extremely successful in communicating with clients of late, both in terms of reassurance and in driving new business as well.
During her regularly scheduled teleconference review, one client, a veterinarian, said that the pandemic showed her how important she and her income were to her family. Holz helped her double her insurance coverage, with all necessary changes done by phone and email.
Another client with about $1 million invested with Holz (half in mutual funds and the other half in annuities) decided to transfer some of the non-protected assets into risk-managed assets like annuities. “He felt very good about that while allowing him the opportunity to have potential market gains when the markets come back,” Holz said.
It’s all about putting people at ease and keeping eyes forward, he added.
“The message that I use is, ‘We’ve planned for this, we’re going to get through this; this is a detour, but we’re still going to make it to our final destination,’” he said, often reminding his Florida clients that during a storm, people should batten the hatches, not wander off. “There’s a thing in sports: Don’t look at where the ball is. Concentrate on where it will be.”