“Our Clients Are Already Overwhelmed with Information”
Ah, the big one. The low hanging fruit reason not to step up your communication with your clients: “because they don’t want me to.” This is simply not true.
The national news may be reporting on major economic events or market changes regularly, and it’s easy to tell yourself that communicating with your clients around that same event is nothing but noise and repetition. But, the critical difference is that you are their real, on the ground, local financial advisor. You are the one they trust enough to come to with their money and hopes for the future. Your clients don’t connect with the ambiguous graphs and data they see on national news in the same way they connect with you regarding how those graphics impact their lives, their finances, and their plans.
“Our Clients Can’t (or Won’t) Communicate That Way”
They can, and they will. It’s time to stop telling your clients what they can (or cannot) or will (or will not) do. There are far too many financial practices that have implemented new technological tools and resources and had it go incredibly well to keep asserting this tired excuse. We consistently see 80+-year-old clients show up on their first-ever Zoom video call, thrilled to be there. Our clients say they love the new opportunities we are providing them to connect with one another and our team. It has proven to be a valuable way to continue one of our core values of consistent client engagement in both small groups and in individual sessions.
There are far too many available solutions to make new tools easy to use, and it may take extra effort from your team to stand by for technological troubleshooting. Still, the connection opportunity is invaluable and well worth the time.
“Nobody Wants To Talk Finance Right Now – It’s Insensitive”
We can all agree that the booming voices in the media can be a little much to handle, especially during unprecedented or unexpected circumstances that impact the majority of our nation. Whether they are easy to listen to or not, they are prominent – and they are raising questions and concerns in the minds of your clients.
They have questions, and if you decide to wait until they come to you, they will feel that you are strictly reactive instead of paying close attention and anticipating their needs. The best time to answer their questions and reassure them is often before they ask in the first place. Whether you think they ‘want to talk finance’ or not doesn’t change the fact that they are getting information from many different sources about how their finances and futures are being impacted. There are ways to be empathetic, proactive, and still informative.
“Our Clients Don’t Want to Engage Right Now”
If there is anything that people crave during times of uncertainty or isolation, it’s human engagement and conversation. The opportunity to see a friendly face and make conversation (even if through a computer) provides them with a sense of normalcy and socialization. Which they may be sorely missing from their routine right now.
“Our Advisors Are Already Overextended…”
It’s true that, during times of volatility, an advisor’s workload naturally increases in response, handling more frequent client communications on top of regular fiduciary responsibilities. The continual improvement and creation of new resources, tools, and communication scripts fall not only on the individual advisor but on the organization as a whole.
Your leadership, including Senior Advisors, executives, and your marketing team, should be working together to create and provide easy access to everything you need to succeed. This focus being put on supporting clients demonstrates the value of leadership and professional community for an advisor. These new tools and connection avenues make it easier not only for advisors to engage with their clients but also for clients to engage with the rest of the organization that cares for their accounts – and their families.
“We Can’t Explain These Complex Concepts To Our Clients In A Way They Can Understand”
Part of the unspoken role of a financial advisor and leader includes embracing becoming a ‘compassionate teacher and guide’ for your clients. It’s a critical professional skill to learn how to break down complex concepts into information that your clients can connect with and understand. They don’t need to (or most likely don’t want to) hear all of the incremental information and data – they want to know what it means.
Communicating with your clients means helping them not only hear the information but also understand it around topics like their portfolios and investment accounts, general market movement, or swings (and why they may be behaving in a certain way). They don’t care in the same way how these changes impact John Doe (a business owner in California) as they do how it affects their world and family. Should they be refinancing their mortgage? What about changing their portfolio or asset allocations? Do they need to lay off employees? This is where they need you.
“Increasing Communication Isn’t a Profit-Generating Activity”
We’ll be short, sweet, and to the point here: increasing trust and demonstrating industry expertise is a long-term revenue-generating activity. Though it’s not imperial in terms of additional dollars and cents in your pocket, it creates clients that know they can rely on you. It increases their comfort to know that you are there, consistently monitoring their financial future and acting in the best interest of their legacy. This creates clients that will stay for the long-term and encourages the internal referrals and organic growth that naturally comes with clients who love their advisor or practice.
“We Already Do a Good Job”
While it’s great that your organization already feels that you’re doing a ‘good’ job, unprecedented times call for unprecedented client support. Have you recently reviewed your official Client Engagement Plan and verified that it still aligns with your current Service Matrix? If you don’t have these expectations and plans clearly documented and adhered to, then that’s a great place to start. Because, as market and economic activity changes, so should your definition of ‘good.’ When your clients are experiencing higher concentrations of volatility and anxiety, you should step up your communication and engagement to be more available to them for any questions, concerns, or general reassurance they may need.
“We Don’t Tell Our Advisors How To Manage Their Relationships”
If your organizational position is that you ‘can’t force your advisors to engage with their clients more,’ that’s your decision to make. However, the examples and expectations for the financial professionals within your practice begin at the top – with leadership. There should be new practice-wide communications and opportunities presented to your clients that they are welcome to engage in, such as educational webinars or practice-wide informational email streams or mailers. Having these systems in place means that even if your individual advisors aren’t engaging more or putting in the extra effort with their clients, you are, as the organization that they represent.