Financial advisors serve as an anchor for their clients throughout life’s successes and challenges — such as starting a new job, switching careers, starting a family, buying a house, losing a loved one, or planning one’s legacy.
But how can financial advisors bring peace of mind during the COVID-19 crisis when stress is at an all-time high? Be human first. As Dave Butler, co-CEO of Dimensional Fund Advisors, wrote in a recent CNBC op-ed piece, “The best advisors will choose to stay connected with their clients and be creative in evolving their services on a human level.”
During this uncertain time, it’s important to be proactive, reach out to your clients, and show that you care and are prioritizing their well-being. Let your clients know that you are paying attention to current events and explain how you are managing their specific situation. By being responsive and staying in communication, this will help you maintain client trust.
Here, we’ve compiled more best practices and tips on how you can help your clients navigate the COVID-19 market volatility and manage their fears and anxieties.
1. Connect with your clients virtually.
Get creative in how you connect — through the phone, video, secure text, and online access. Keep them informed about the CARES Act and other legislation, ask them about their current financial situation, and find out if their long-term goals have changed.
As Financial Planning magazine notes, many clients don’t know what you do on a daily basis regarding managing their portfolios, so explain it to them: “Describe, for instance, how your rebalancing software sends you a report each day so you can review their allocations. Tell them you are keeping an eye on the fees in their portfolio from mutual funds and looking for opportunities to reduce these.”
Also, consider sending a weekly roundup of the top articles you are reading and think your clients would benefit from reading.
2. Address clients’ immediate needs so they can continue to work toward their long-term goals.
Your clients will be worried about their short-term goals, so help them address these stressors. Explain the options available to them, such as CARES Act mortgage and student loan relief, and provide them with personalized strategies. By solving their immediate needs, you can help them stay on track to accomplishing their bigger long-term goals. As Financial Advisor magazine writes, “It’s our job to help them stick to the plan that reflects their long-term, goals-based approach.”
3. Utilize other experts to help your clients.
Establish a strong team of professionals — tax advisors, attorneys, and CPAs, for instance — so you can deliver more value and specific expertise to your clients. This will help your clients save time, money, and resources.
4. Show your value in other ways.
If your clients are fixated on their investment losses and are questioning your value, Financial Planning magazine writes, educate them on other value-adds you offer — such as reviewing cash flow and savings, tax information, mortgage refinancing, and insurance.
More than ever, clients need the guidance and stability that financial advisors provide. If you’d like to discuss further how you can help your clients during this time, please get in touch.