Silver Linings from the Trenches – Finding Opportunity in Crisis
The last few weeks have no doubt been difficult personally and professionally for advisors balancing personal concerns, worried clients and the “new normal” working remotely.
No one knows when we will see the light at the end of the tunnel, and the more you listen to the news the more it all starts to sound like “white noise.”
But as any good investor knows, pullbacks bring opportunity, and some advisors are “doubling down” and making the most of the crisis to reach out to their clients, identify prospects and keep up morale among their dislocated teams.
Here are just a few concrete actions that the high-end advisors we speak to as part of our practice management consulting business are taking:
1. Dinner is my treat!
One of the teams we are working with is sending food baskets to their clients. Pasta, sauces, and other non-perishable items that the clients can use to make a “homemade meal.” While this is an amazing idea, think about your team, all working remotely. Why not do the same thing for them? Show the love to everyone!
2. Where should I send the check?
We have heard story after story about clients wanting to send funds into their accounts to take advantage of the recent downturn in the markets. True, we don’t know where the bottom is, and you can’t time the markets. But it’s a great sign when clients want to be proactive and are not panicking.
Think about who else you can be contacting. Do clients know anyone that might want a second opinion? How about accountants or attorneys? To quote one of our advisors: “Every day is like the Super Bowl and I am winning.”
3. “I see the field better in times like this.”
Sports may be cancelled, but you get the analogy. This quote was said to us by an advisor who had just put down the phone after a 12-hour day speaking to clients. The more calls you make the better handle you have on the situation. You will have more clarity and your finger will be directly on the pulse of what and who is important…your clients. Stay focused. People need you more than ever in times like this.
4. You might be remote, but it can be business as (sort of) usual.
Whether it’s by phone, text or video chat, advisors are telling us that things are running very smoothly with team members who are all working in different locations. Keep having your daily huddles each morning and regular contact points every day and week. Communicate clearly and stay connected. Most of our teams are having two “official” meetings per day now. One in the morning and one in the afternoon.
5. The paperwork is on the way.
New business can and does get acquired in times like this. One of our teams has brought in $15 million in new assets over the past several weeks. Just because they are doing what other advisors are not. Reach out to your old leads, prospects, anyone who wants to hear you “cut through the noise.” This is the opportunity to plant seeds of doubt and show those non-clients why they should be working with you!
6. Occupy time with things other than the news.
Stuck home and have some free time? Advisors have found some amazing and creative links to websites offering museum and gallery tours, online cooking classes, games to play with kids and more. Craft an email to clients (DON’T discuss business) sending links to these types of websites. These are the things that clients will remember when the crisis is over.
7. Sharpen your saw.
An advisor excitedly called us to say they had just finished an online typing class to refresh their skills and be more diligent about entering detailed notes into their firm’s contact management system. Remember, you can never be too careful, so in times like this make sure to document everything!
8. The inbound phone call.
It is truly awesome to hear from our advisors how many of THEIR clients have called to check on how they are holding up. We all talk about how we can WOW our clients, but this is the ultimate compliment when your client reverses the WOW to show how much they appreciate you. Remember, this is a relationship business and it’s not just about the portfolios.
So, we may not be out of the woods yet, but hopefully these little anecdotes will encourage you to take some positive actions outside of what you might already be doing. Remain confident, full of conviction and charged up to see this through to the other side.
Be safe and healthy everyone, and we readily accept that it’s an overused phrase but…this too shall pass.
Michael Silver and Eric Sheikowitz are founders of Focus Partners, a practice management and advisor consulting firm based in Paramus, New Jersey.