Seattle: “The market is taking a major tumble and the few clients I have are calling the office frantically,” moaned Ethan as we began our coaching session. “I know you’re going to tell me this is a great time for prospecting, but I can’t keep my head straight. It’s hard enough for me to bring in new clients because I’m a rookie, add the shaky market on top of that and I’m not even sure where to start.”
With memories of 2008 looming in the background, the dow plunging in response to a AAA downgrade and media pundits fueling fear and uncertainty everywhere you turn, it’s natural for investors and advisors to become a bit nervy. Ethan in particular, is feeling the pressure from his existing clients who need consoling and his manager who needs production. He’s not sure how he should approach his marketing strategy going forward. Right now he’s thrown in the marketing towel and is focused on keeping his book intact. But what would an elite advisor do in these circumstances? Definitely not sit on the sidelines and let this prospecting opportunity disappear.
Market chaos – which is what we have -- increases affluent investor’s recognition of the importance of working with a real financial advisor – an advisor who is proactive. Amidst crisis there is always opportunity. The following are three tactical ways new (and even veteran) advisors can capitalize on the financial crisis. All of which requires working overtime!
Contact Existing Clients
Bad news always travels fast. Your first step in navigating this volatility is reaching out to current clients and letting them know you are monitoring their situation. This can be done through calls, personal meetings, lunch and learns, social interaction, webinars, teleconference calls, etc. Your actual method for contacting clients is not as important as the contact itself. You might say…
“Mr. Client, I’m calling just to touch base because of the volatility in the markets. We’ve reviewed your portfolio (over the weekend, this morning, last night etc.) and are comfortable with where we are right now. We will continue to monitor your portfolio and can update you as often as you like. How frequent would you like for me to reach out to you?”
You might continue with a reference to a prospect you have identified in the past. “And Mr. Client, I know you mention your colleague Larry often, is that someone I should be talking to? Does he have an advisor guiding him through this market turmoil?”
The more frequently you repeat those lines, the more you increase the probability of getting in front of a prospect who easily become a client in this environment.
Re-engage Old Prospects
Remember that old list of stale prospects? The ones who stopped returning your calls? Our current market conditions create a perfect opportunity to reengage. Create a list of prospects from the past two years you would like to approach and set up face-to-face interactions to position a “risk-audit.” You might say…
“Hello (name of prospect), this is (your name), we met at (insert place). I’m sure you have spoken to your current advisors, but I just wanted to call and see if everything is alright in the midst of this recent market volatility. It’s probably a good time for us to get together and look at your portfolio. This is no time for hesitation. Do you have any free time later this afternoon or over the weekend?”
Once again, the more of these conversations you have, the more clients you will acquire.
Be Prepared for New Prospects
When the markets continue the volatility, advisors need to be ready capitalize on the inevitable market conversations. Each of these conversations is a perfect opportunity to segue into a “second opinion.” Next time you are in a social setting (Rotary, Son’s soccer league, neighbor’s BBQ, etc.) and someone opens up the dialog about the markets – your job is to grab control through misdirection and to offer a 2nd opinion, not get pulled into a lengthy discussion.
“This has been a crazy environment, but we’ve working extremely hard, meeting with clients and making certain they’re protected on all fronts. It’s gotten so serious that my clients are now asking me to provide 2nd opinions for close family members.” Read the body language – if you have their attention, go for a 2nd opinion mini-close. “Has anyone done this for you? I’ll be glad to take a look.”
In 2008 some advisors crumbled while others prospered. How you approach the next few weeks could have a dramatic impact on your career. As new advisors, it’s easy to feel like Ethan. However, resist any urge to deflect attention and instead welcome it. Elite advisors see this correction as a great time to communicate with existing clients and find new prospects. The glass is half for advisors who are staying extremely active and very visible.