A man looking out a window (Photo: Nadino/Thinkstock)

The pandemic has touched everyone’s lives. It provides opportunities for agents, prospects, advisors and clients to connect, relate, strengthen relationships and even solve problems. You won’t be asking for business, because you are being concerned and compassionate. These virtues should motivate them to do more business.

(Related: When Clients Get Sick, What Should an Advisor Do?)

F. Scott Fitzgerald famously said, “Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me.” In reality, the people we consider wealthy and good prospects are similar to us. Their problems have different dimensions.

1. Their routines are disrupted.

Your wealthy retired client might take several overseas vacations a year. They might have a winter home in Florida. Some might own property in Europe. Because of the pandemic, they are stuck at home or close to home. Spouses are spending more time in each other’s company. They are frustrated, waiting for the “We can travel again” signal.

You can: Commiserate. Plant the idea 2020 is the year of the road trip. It’s a big country. Hotels and resorts are open. At least some of them.

2. It’s not coronavirus that scares them.

Science suggests a healthy middle aged person should recover over time if they get the virus. Your wealthy client is likely older. They have underlying conditions. If they got sick, the virus might not do them in, but their system would be weakened to the point one of their underlying conditions does the job.

You can: Talk about precautions. You might think you are preaching to the choir, but it can help. TV news tells them younger people are messing it up for everyone. They likely consider you younger. Let them know you are following the rules.

3. TV news depresses them.

We Americans love statistics. Why are we running a daily counter of infections are deaths are we march towards threshold numbers? It’s a grim race. FYI: People jump off the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. This might be urban legend. In the early 1990′s they kept a public tally of these suicides. As they approached a threshold number, they stopped publicizing the tally. Why? Because they thought there might be rush to be the one death to hit the big number!

You can: Tell them to turn off the TV news. Explain you only watch for half an hour over breakfast until they get to the weather. Find good news to share. If you had been talking about investing and the market was plummeting, you would be finding positive statistics to share.

4. What will the holidays look like?

As the virus numbers increase, states and cities start to put lockdown procedures back in place. They are wondering how they will do family gatherings in December. In England, the “Rule of Six” says only six can gather. There’s a joke there are certain exceptions, like funerals, which allow 30 people. (The rules change almost daily.) The joke is at Christmas, as the host, you will kill the turkey, then invite 30 people to the funeral!

You can: they might not throw their traditional holiday party, but they can invite a couple a day over for lunch, cocktails or dinner during a several week period in December. It’s a lot of entertaining, but they spend more time with family and friends.

5. Their business is very, very good or very, very bad.

They might own a business. We know restaurants are struggling. It must be tough for travel agents. Friends in England tell us doing needlepoint and cross stitching has become popular. As a result framing shops have a 12-week backup. Our local business that converts panel trucks into small custom campers went from building one to three at a time. Taking eight weeks to build, they are booked through July 2021 delivery.

You can: Encourage them to talk. They might see things from a local perspective. You have other clients in similar businesses that might be doing better. Why? You read lots of articles. Pass them along.

6. They want to help others, but don’t know how.

Your wealthy clients are often philanthropic. Local nonprofits are having cash flow problems. They get lots of requests. They see local businesses struggling. In our area a generous couple made a list of the restaurants they like along with other local businesses they knew were struggling. They mailed thousand dollar checks to each!

You can: Encourage your clients to spend money. They might not dine out, but they can order in. They can do their holiday shopping locally, instead of online. This recycles their money in the community.

7. They are picky eaters.

They are used to eating out almost daily. They remark their beautiful kitchen “is for resale purposes only.” Now they are eating in. Supermarket shelves are now stocked, but they favor certain brands. These tend to be sold out. They aren’t getting the ice cream that makes them happy.

You can: Find it for them. They likely shop at one store. They don’t follow the weekly sales. You are creative. You hunt the item down and leave it at their door.

8. Stock market concerns.

They see a disconnect between the grim economic news on TV and the buoyancy of the stock market. They are thrilled, but know the good times can’t last forever. The stock market moves in cycles.

You can: Talk with them about locking in some gains. Maybe not everything. There are ways to take money off the table, buy something else and share in a portion of the stock market’s possible future appreciation while getting some principal protection.

You might say: “I have these concerns too. Well, maybe some of them.” You can relate to them, provide a sounding board and be a problem solver in some instances.

— Read What Can Insurance Agents Do During Stock Market Declines?on ThinkAdvisor.


Bryce SandersBryce Sanders is president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc. He provides high-net-worth client acquisition training for the financial services industry. His book, “Captivating the Wealthy Investor,” can be found on Amazon.