We are approaching the one-year anniversary of the day the Lehman Brothers, one of Wall Street’s biggest brand-name firms, declared bankruptcy. If you’re a financial advisor, you recall what happened next: The market went into a freefall, assets and revenues plummeted, and client trust and confidence were challenged.
Now may be a good time to pause and ask yourself, “How did I respond to the challenges the market presented? Did I merely react from phone call to phone call, or did I have a systematic communication plan in place that dictated my activities and client relationship management strategy?”
In retrospect, advisors with a clear, systematic, disciplined communications plan not only fared better, but grew their businesses substantially during this period. A communications plan saves time and creates efficiency during “normal” markets; during a crisis, it can give you the direction and confidence necessary to capitalize on the opportunities created by volatile markets.
As you evaluate how your communication plan fared during the past year, keep in mind some of the best practices taken from top insurance advisors throughout the industry.
Act with conviction
If your clients perceive you as timid, unprepared, or evasive, they will be far more likely to leave you for someone offering the confidence they need. Do your homework before every client conversation. Begin with an honest appraisal of their financial situation, then shift to specific strategies or recommendations for keeping them — or getting them back — on track. Acting with conviction reminds them that you are the right advisor to help them navigate toward their financial goals.
Conduct in-depth client rediscovery
You based your clients’ investment plans on your in-depth discovery process, exploring their circumstances, goals, and risk tolerances. Market volatility may have done more than change their portfolio value; it may have also changed the goals and assumptions underlying your entire plan. Conducting a rediscovery process will establish new, realistic expectations; form the basis of any updated recommendations; and restore your clients’ faith in your process.