We love our clients, at least when things are going well. We see a professional relationship with the added bonus of working with people we like. Then something happens, knocking their train off its tracks. It’s a situation where the advisor might not be paid if they insert themselves. What do you do now?
When Tragedy Strikes
Lots of things can throw a spanner into the works. Your client loses their job for life. They get a serious illness. A spouse dies. Obviously you feel sympathetic, but is that enough?
Many people don’t know what to do in these situations. They express their condolences. They send cards. They say “Is there anything I can do to help?” Not knowing what else to say, they often fall silent. The injured or bereaved party feels forgotten and neglected.
Others see an opportunity. They swoop in, say: ‘So sorry you lost your job. You’ll find another. Let’s talk about that rollover!” The advisor is seen a predatory, or even worse.
Scenario 1: The Job Loss
“Restructuring” is one of the worst words in the English language. Although advisors see rolling over the client’s retirement plan as low-hanging fruit, that’s the last thing you should be going after. It’s very far down on your client’s “to do” list, too.
Visit with your client. Let them tell their story. Ask questions. Try to back up from the extremely detailed nature of their most recent job to the background they have. Where does their expertise fit into their industry? Government?
Offer to help with several specific examples. You are likely connected via LinkedIn. If not, remedy that oversight. Suggest they look through your first-level contacts. Who do you know that might be a resource? Bear in mind in today’s world, companies may let people go, but talent is in short supply. They might be selling what someone else is buying. You can act as an intermediary, helping them get an informational interview. That’s the first step.
If they aren’t up to speed on LinkedIn, suggest that as another step forward. Two popular uses of the platform are selling your product and job hunting.
Check in with them regularly. Don’t ask: “Have you found a job yet?” Instead, talk about the steps they said they were going to take. How did that work out? If this was Alcoholics Anonymous, you might have been their sponsor. You are helping them through a difficult period.
Hopefully they land safely. After they settle in, that’s the time for the rollover conversation. They might bring it up themselves.