When times are tough for clients and prospects, advisors need to take a new approach, according to grief consultant Amy Florian, who spoke on the second day of the Raymond James Women’s Symposium (RJF), taking place this week and drawing about 200 advisors and other guests in St. Petersburg, Fla.
“I first worked with advisor who didn’t know how to handle grief,” said Florian, who lost her husband at age 25 shortly after the birth of their son. “Then, I met another advisor who made me feel comfortable, who made me feel like a person, not a number in a portfolio. Guess which one I went with?” she asked.
Some 70% of widows switch advisors after their husband’s death, said the CEO of Corgenius, a communications consulting firm who works with clients like Boulder, Co.-based advisor Sacha Millstone of Raymond James.
The key to keeping their business, Florian says, is to consider “how good you are at grief support … and that means you’ll have client for life.”
Plus, widows, family members and friends talk to each other and often with members of their grief support groups. “They share info on who a does great job. You won’t have to ask for referrals,” she explained. “They will come to you,” if you take a more empathetic and holistic approach with those coping with loss.
In general, the loss of a spouse, a divorce and other abrupt changes related to “a break in an attachment” lead to grief, according to the expert. And in all these situations, it’s important for advisors to not only to be polite but also to be reassuring and flexible.
The Right Approach
“Ask good questions and really, listen,” the consultant stressed.
By good questions, she means “invitational questions” that open the door to thoughtful discussions and acknowledgement of the emotional turmoil the client or prospect is experiencing.