Restoring Client Confidence amid the COVID-19 Crisis
Help inspire the confidence and courage your clients need to believe the future is still a great investment.
The snow has melted, temperatures are rising and if you measure the passage of time in terms of benign weekly events, like garbage collection, as I do, then you know that many weeks have passed since we began the COVID-19 quarantine. If we’re lucky, we’re closer to the end of quarantine than we are to the beginning. But the end of the quarantine will mark the beginning of a “new normal” that is sure to usher in new traditions, new behaviors, new habits and new fears.
In the new normal, your role as a trusted advisor will evolve. But, one thing will remain constant, you will continue to play a critical role in your clients’ lives. Just as it was at the beginning of the quarantine, when the market was dropping precipitously, all of your interactions with your clients after the quarantine will influence their attitudes. In this case, you have the opportunity to shape their “take” on the financial markets as you help them with portfolio positioning going forward.
The past weeks have been incredibly stressful for financial advisors. Most of you have been working remotely. You’ve had to support your teammates and provide leadership to your clients during a period of incredible market uncertainty and volatility. Many of you have accomplished all of that, maintaining your composure and professionalism while at the same time some of you have been playing the role of teacher to your children. It’s a lot to juggle; it’s impressive, and it’s exhausting. But, hang in there, because you still have to cushion your clients’ entry into the world of the new normal.
Here are some ideas about where to begin:
• Acknowledge that the new normal will not be normal at all
There seems to be agreement that even when we’re released from quarantine, things will not feel familiar. Explain to your clients that although there may be changes, in time it will become clear that some of the changes have added to rather than subtracted from their lives. For example, some people have discovered that they like how their lives have slowed down and that they enjoy being at home. For others, this has been a time of introspection, where they are rethinking their life and the direction it’s taking.
• Rebuild cash reserves
Clients who have dipped into their cash reserves during this time need a plan for replenishing their emergency funds. Clients who have never understood the importance of a cash reserve may now. Shore up any weaknesses in client plans now .
• Revisit client goals
There’s no question that, even if we’ve remained healthy, the coronavirus has impacted each one of us. Some of us have lost friends or loved ones and all of us have seen over a million Americans infected by a disease that has gone on to kill tens of thousands of our fellow citizens.
This type of experience always causes people to reassess their lives and goals. Your client’s goal of buying a new Range Rover seemed like a great idea at the beginning of the year, but now that goal may seem trivial compared to the goal of spending time with their family. Most of us are rethinking what’s really important. Your clients are doing the same. Make sure you know if their goals have changed.
• Be available
Accessibility is always important to your clients, but right now it’s critical. When clients know you are available, particularly during times of crisis and confusion, they begin to feel more confident that they are not alone.
The coronavirus has shaken the faith of many of us, including some of your clients. Remind them that “history is a rising road.” Time and again we have seen that, despite challenges and setbacks, we have always recovered, and conditions have improved. Your job is to inspire the confidence and courage your clients need to believe the future is still a great investment.