Client CommunicationIn late August, we experienced the first market correction since 2011 and, unsurprisingly, it worried investors. The Dow Jones dropped 1,000 points, the Nasdaq fell 340 points, and the S&P 500 dipped 120 points. While this is an equally stressful time for financial advisors, it also provides them opportunities to remind clients of the important role they take in their lives. Here are three things every advisor should do for their clients when the market drops.

Proactively Communicate

When the market starts taking a significant dip, advisors shouldn’t wait for their clients to call them. Be proactive and reach out to clients first. While they may define them differently (such as the amount of assets under management or the quality of relationship), most advisors have “A” clients. These are the first clients an advisor should call during a market correction. A quick, personal phone call about what the markets are doing and how the advisor is monitoring their portfolio can make all the difference. It shows a client how much an advisor cares about them and is truly looking out for them.

With all clients, advisors should send out an email, as well as some educational articles or videos about the markets and the natural corrections we’ve regularly seen occur over the decades. These can help quell some fears and remind them that their advisor is taking action and is experienced in the markets. During the late August correction, for example, an advisor could have sent out a set of three emails over the course of a week covering a few different topics. The first could have been a brief summary of what the advisor does (or doesn’t) do in reaction to a market correction. The second email could be a video, like this one called “Where is the Market Headed?”, which looks at the unpredictability of the markets and what can and can’t be controlled. The third email could address the future and what to expect in the next few months after a correction. If approved by compliance, these materials can also be shared on social media.

Be Specific with Advice

When clients call or email their advisor during a market correction, it’s because they are either worried about how it’s affecting their portfolio or are looking for advice on what they should be doing. This means an advisor shouldn’t simply offer clients vague recommendations, such as “you’re a long-term investor so don’t worry about it,” or “let’s ride this out and stick to a buy and hold strategy.” The client will assume their advisor doesn’t care about them or isn’t taking their investment strategy seriously. Depending on the client’s specific strategy, tolerance, and needs, an advisor should specifically explain what they should and shouldn’t do and why. This can help the client feel more at ease and more confident in their investment strategy.

Define the Importance of an Advisor’s Role

A market correction is an advisor’s opportunity to set him or herself apart from a robo advisor and remind their clients what they bring to the table. Clients don’t just work with an advisor to create an investment portfolio. An advisor serves as a lifelong resource for clients to rely on for objective advice, guidance, education, and recommendations. When the market takes a dip, clients can feel more confident knowing they have someone looking out for them.

Advisors should take the time to speak with their clients about their role in their life and how they go beyond providing investment strategies and offer ongoing advice and support. This can be done either during a review meeting, over the phone, or in a personal email.

While no one looks forward to a drop in the markets, we all know they happen and will happen again in the future. However, it doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom. Financial advisors have a unique opportunity to make the most of a downturn in the markets and remind their clients of their experience and client commitment.

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