Many agents and advisors hit the pause button on their business during the summer. (Not you, of course.) Labor Day has come and gone. Your manager is roaming the halls asking “How are you going to finish the year strong?” What’s your answer?
(Related: Top 15 Excuses Why I’m Not Prospecting Today)
Let’s assume your business involves both insurance and investments.
Your clients have assets held away.
Interest rates are still low.
You have prospects who are still sitting on the fence.
Where will business come from?
1. The Horses Are at the Starting Gate
Some people are sitting on cash. They haven’t committed yet. You have insurance and investment products that include a stock market component. Ideally you want to get these funds committed before Jan. 1.
Why? Because the financial newspapers, magazines and cable TV programs measure performance from Jan. 1. It’s Year to Date (YTD) performance. Clients are often frustrated when they hear the market did well, yet their investments, which they think should have similar returns, fall short? Why? Because they got invested on Feb. 5… Whatever the market did in January, good or bad, they missed.
2. Clean House
Mutual funds adjust their portfolios for different reasons. It’s been said one reason is they want to have the “winners” that did well earlier in the year on their books. Prospective investors look at the top 10 holdings and say: “I like those stocks.”
Suppose your client owns some individual stocks. Some did well, others not so well. There’s a case for trimming the winners because they might be a larger proportional holding in their portfolio. It’s a case of too many eggs in one basket. How about the losers? One of the biggest mistakes equity investors historically make is they hold onto their losers while selling their winners. Are the fundamentals intact? If not, do you have new ideas you can suggest?
3. Tax-Loss Selling
Remind me again, who do financial advisors work between Christmas and New Year’s Eve? Because clients often wait until the last minute to lock in gains for the year or take losses. If everyone does this at once, it can distort the market in the short term, especially if the stock is thinly traded.
How about getting that tax loss selling done early? You probably have some good ideas where the money should go.
4. Retirement Plan Contributions
You can make the case clients have plenty of time to get this done. Although some plans might need to be established before year end, contributions to ongoing plans might have a longer timeline.
Why wait? Even if a client goes into a money fund or certificate of deposit, it makes sense to do it early, so the interest earned is in a tax deferred environment. You probably have other ideas how the client can invest that money, consistent with their risk tolerance.
5. Mandatory Retirement Plan Distributions
Some clients are over 70 ½. They are required to bring part of their tax deferred assets into their taxable accounts. There can be penalties if they forget. This is an opportunity to remind them, especially if they have substantial retirement assets held elsewhere.
Assuming they are withdrawing cash, you probably have some suitable ideas concerning how these funds can be put to work.
There are lots of reasons to get in touch with your client. These get the conversation rolling. Who knows where else it can lead?
— Read 10 Ways to Tactfully Get Your Point Across, on ThinkAdvisor.
Bryce Sanders is president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc. He provides HNW client acquisition training for the financial services industry. is book, “Captivating the Wealthy Investor” can be found on Amazon.