We have become so accustomed to uninterrupted growth in the market since the lows of 2009. However, with some recent market drops, it is probably about time to revisit your client communication strategy. After all, what is it that we do for a living, if not communicating with the people we serve?
Study after study reveals that clients leave their advisors not because of poor performance, but rather a lack of effective communication.
With these recent market drops, now more than ever, it’s essential that you take a look at your communication process. I’ll say it again, the communication process. No, I am not suggesting that you must “predict the unpredictable” or “time the un-timeable”. Instead, I am simply suggesting that you ensure that you are using a specific communication process to help your clients understand what happens when the inevitable comes.
Markets will go up and they will go down – but, the communication process can help teach and accommodate all extremes for the benefit of our clients.
Are you managing your communication tools as well as you claim to manage clients’ investments? I’m not talking about just answering the phone when they call, or responding to that worried email. No, by then it’s too late.
What I am talking about is a system of communication tools that prevent those worried calls and show your clients exactly what you are doing to help them take advantage of times of prosperity, and protect them against times of scarcity.
How can you do that? Well what better way to say it than to give you an example. The following email was sent to our clients during a recent market drop, reiterating the core principles behind the Four Dimension Review Process we use to ensure our clients are well taken care of.
As you read, please note that this email is in addition to our monthly six-page custom newsletter, our regular client social events, frequent in-office education events, scheduled progress reviews, and more. When I suggest you communicate, I put my money (and time) where my mouth is. I suggest you do the same.
Here is the text of the email I sent:
I hope you are enjoying a strong finish to the week. While you may be, the stock market is not. Yesterday, the market dropped almost 2% and it’s down about a half percent today as I write this. Because we have become so accustomed to uninterrupted growth in the market since the lows of 2009, this is a great time to revisit our investing process and ensure that we’re on track to reach your goals.
The variables to consider in any investment strategy are many and each family we serve has different needs and objectives. The question you may be asking is: “Who is watching over our money and what steps will be taken to avoid a repeat of 2008-9?”
Simply put, there are four distinct parts (Dimensions) to a sound retirement plan:
1. Income production
2. Long-term growth
3. Tax minimization
4. Estate planning
If you’re nearing or in-retirement, income production is critical. If you’re using part of your accumulated savings to produce income to meet your basic needs, ensure your plan offers guarantees against market losses. If you have guaranteed income annuities in place, rest easier knowing they will not be affected by drops in the market.
For those who work with us for their risk-based investments, our investment committee at [money manager’s name] has measures in place to avoid losses when possible – while keeping an eye on your long-term objectives. I have literally sat in the dimly-lit trading room at [money manager] while traders each sit in front of six huge screens and monitor the smallest movements in the market. In other words, they are watching your money very closely and will act accordingly.
If you are uneasy at times like this, feel free to contact us to revisit your strategy. I cannot predict what tomorrow will bring, but I can demonstrate how your plan will respond when the events of tomorrow unfold. It’s not a crystal ball, rather it’s good planning.
Don’t stew all weekend! Know that we’re here, doing what we are tasked to do – serve you.
As you ponder how to improve you own communication process, don’t forget that what you really do for clients doesn’t stop with good retirement planning. What you really do is all about great retirement planning AND great communication of those ideas with those that you serve. It is the challenging times that will reinforce and increase your value as a professional.