The expression “Money talks. It says ‘Goodbye’” seems to really ring true when the stock market declines. You need to keep in contact with clients. How do you do it?
Within the industry, keeping in touch and calming clients is often called “handholding.” It may be accurate, but no client wants to hear they are being treated like a scared child afraid of monsters under the bed. Keep these two points in mind:
- Always have something new to tell them. The TV detective Columbo was always in touch with the person he suspected was the murderer. His rationale was delivering news about the case. “I thought you might want to know we just heard from Ballistics…” The bad guy might have been annoyed, but was interested in the progress the police made. Delivering valuable information is an excellent reason to reach out.
- Use the client’s preferred communication channel. This can be tough. We recently reconnected with a friend we knew from long ago. He was having computer problems, so wasn’t checking email. He told us not to leave voicemails because he never checks them. We know to call at a certain time of day. If he does not answer, we hang up and try later. If you want to reach your client, you need to play by their rules.
You are not as limited as you might imagine. Some methods of connecting are immediate. Other methods can be accessed or read by the client at their leisure. They might not be as timely, but they know you are making the effort. Your compliance officer needs to be in agreement with the channels you are using.
Clients rely on advisors more heavily when markets are volatile. You might be paying attention to their investments on a daily basis, but you need to let them know.