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How Can Another Firm’s Dissatisfied Client Become My Client?

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You are ethical. Although there are lots of upset investors out there, if someone’s advisor is putting in the same effort as you, then they have a good advisor. You tell them and leave them alone. Many other investors fall into a different category. They decided to invest on their own. They eliminated the middleman and bought index tracker funds. Others see an advisor’s name on their statement, yet haven’t received an incoming call during 2020. These folks are unhappy, with good reason. How can they become your clients?

How Do These Opportunities Present Themselves?

The pandemic is still with us. Most states are talking about a multi-step process to get business going again. Some states have already started the process. Although social distancing rules will be with us for a long time, we will start to see friends face to face again. An obvious venue will be the barber or hair salon, as millions of people wait for a haircut.

They know you are an advisor. If not, the logoed ball cap or windbreaker is a good clue. They might start a conversation with: “I’ve lost $150,000. My advisor is rubbish.” If the market is down 15% year to date, you get the clue they started with a million in equities.

Strategy No. 1: They Approach You

Use a strategy you would deploy if someone said: “I already have an advisor” in those calmer days back in 2019:

“We’ve had a difficult three months in the market. If your advisor is there for you, returns calls and keeps in touch, these days, that’s about as good as it gets.” Notice, you have set a pretty low bar here. You mentioned nothing about being proactive. If you wanted to add that, you might drop “keeps in touch” and add “talks about opportunities.”

They should either agree or disagree. If they agree, congratulate them on having a good advisor. Suppose they say: “I don’t have an advisor. I invested on my own” or “Not a chance. My advisor never calls. I don’t even know their name. I never met them.” Now there’s opportunity. Since you are at the barber shop holding a deli-style ticket with “40” on it and they are cutting head #3, it’s likely you are in a crowd of nosy people. You might glance around say: “This isn’t the place for this conversation. Let’s exchange contact information. I’ll call you this afternoon.”

Strategy No. 2: Establish a Standard

It’s not time to get your hair cut yet. Everything is still closed. You are working from home. You are also having fun, enjoying quarantinis with friends in virtual cocktail sessions. It’s a 1:1 session. Your friend starts complaining about the market or their advisor.

You acknowledge it’s a difficult time. “We’re all in the same boat.” Right now, one of the best ways an advisor shows their value is through communication. “In this difficult market, we have been trying to do YTD performance reviews with each client. It may not be a pretty picture, but people need to know where they stand. When was the last time you and your advisor reviewed your performance?”

This gets them talking. You can also bring up an unexpected positive. They might be afraid to open their statement, because a 15% drop in the market gets them thinking they are down 15% overall. If they are 50% stock and 50% fixed income and cash, they are probably in a better position than they think.

Strategy No. 3: You Take the Initiative

You are having regular discussions with your clients. You are finding bright spots to talk about. You are sharing what your firm’s research people are saying. Your client feels you are “on the ball.” They are anxious about the market and the economy. You have made them feel better.

You ask: “Who else do you know that’s anxious about the market and the economy? I will gladly talk with them if they are interested.” Your client likely feels you’ve done something good for them. You have taken away some of the pain. They know people who are in “pain.” Connecting you would be a favor to that friend, in their eyes.

There’s lots of things that are outside of your control. Frequent contact and sharing information are things you can do. Not everyone is doing it. This can help you get more clients.


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