The coronavirus wrecking ball has been nothing short of terrible, leaving heartbreak, economic ruin and social disruption in its wake on a scale never before seen in a generation, with undoubtably more to come.
What does this crisis mean for the business of wealth management? The ancient Chinese used two brush strokes to write the word “crisis” with one stroke representing danger — and the other opportunity.
This metaphor has never been more relevant as we sort through the aftermath of social distancing, sky-rocketing unemployment, market volatility and economic recession caused by this insidious pandemic.
If you ask experienced advisors about these types of interesting times, they will tell you that in periods of market volatility and economic recession is when they have experienced some of their best growth; they know that there is true opportunity in crisis.
Their playbook is fairly simple and straightforward to follow — all it takes is a dose of confidence, perspective and pro-active communications.
Where to begin
Ultimately, what most crises do is create money in motion.
A big chunk of this money comes from two market segments of investors: those looking for advice from a professional advisor for the first time, and those who are dissatisfied with the response from their advisor and financial services provider during these chaotic times.
That first segment of “DIYers,” who have finally experienced a bear market after a decade of non-stop upward market moves, are in shock and many realize they shouldn’t be going it alone as society, markets and government involvement change dramatically.
Particularly after going through a historic market drop — both in terms of the velocity and depth of decline — many are realizing that this market induced body-blow wakened them to the fact that they had taken on more risk than they thought or were comfortable with.
In fact, a recent investor research project revealed that one in four investors are working with an advisor for the first time as a result of the pandemic. Accordingly, now more than ever, it is the time for advisors to be pro-active and visible.
To capture these first-time buyers, firms can think about a content strategy to publish timely perspectives on what investors can be doing to rebalance portfolios, better align risk with their investments, as well as the many benefits for getting a comprehensive financial plan in place to better position them to meet their goals and objectives.
At this point, everyone needs an update to their plan if they have one, and for those without, never before has financial planning been more critical.
The key to this “marketing during a crisis” approach is not to be too self-promotional, after all, these are times of real pain and suffering. Instead investors need a value-added approach: how can advisors help during these times?
Evelyn Zohlen, president of Inspired Financial and national president of the FPA, said it well: “Planners should think of their work as a public service right now. That can mean telling existing clients that they are available for any friends or family who are struggling. That is a very soft pitch, and it falls on ears favorably.”
Video becomes a powerful tool to create awareness of how you can help.
According to Megan Carpenter, CEO of FiComm Partners, a communications firm focused on the wealth management space, a “video first” strategy is necessary in these times of social distancing. Instead of typing up an email or blog post, simply record yourself on your laptop, iPhone or other camera.
Production values are less important in our society today because of the proliferation of non-formal video content on the Internet, so don’t over-think how you look on video; simply point, speak and record.
That personal touch with valuable information goes a long way and can be leveraged as a digital communication asset for social media, your website, as well as email communications.
People want to see you in these troubling times, so this type of communication can be very powerful, particularly as these new advice buyers are social distancing and Google searching for a financial advisor for the first time, and if they come across your name or your firm, what will they find?