You’ve most likely just entered the most unprecedented summer of your career, if not your lifetime. Camps have opened, then closed. Vacation travel began and then came to an abrupt halt. States have opened and closed, wearing masks – yes, no, yes – it’s as if COVID-19 is playing with us.
So what’s a good game plan for financial advisors amidst all of this craziness? Well, here’s a novel idea:
- Update your knowledge: financial markets and family summer plans
- Personal “Summer Update” Communication
- Summer “Surprise & Delight”
Think in terms of your top 25 clients, COIs, and prospects. It’s important to keep in mind that there are serious marketing opportunities for the proactive advisor. Marketing is all about growth and acquiring new clients, which should be the goal of every financial advisor during these unprecedented times.
At the Oechsli Institute, we’ve been researching financial advisor marketing for the past 30 years from two perspectives:
· Financial Advisors
· Affluent Investors
It should be of no surprise that financial advisors who are successful in acquiring affluent clients ($1+ million) are employing the same marketing activities that affluent investors have told us that they respond to favorably. In other words, our research has been able to establish validation from both financial advisors and the affluent investor – which has always been important but now has even a stronger impact. For instance, in the pre-COVID world affluent investors told us they were not big fans of advertising and marketing campaigns; only 26% claimed to have some to full trust. Now, as a result of all the confusion, misinformation, and market volatility associated with this pandemic, the stars continue to remain aligned for the proactive financial advisor this summer.
People are starved for guidance from someone they can talk to, connect with, and really trust.
Your summer game plan should reflect all of this. Let me provide a bit of context to the three buckets I listed above:
1. Update your knowledge
I’m sure you’re current on what’s going on in the markets, but it’s important to have your narrative clear and concise – customized to each client’s personal situation. Which leads me to the personal aspect of updating your knowledge: what is going on with the family of each client, COI, and prospect; you need to know. Have vacation plans changed? Are their kids able to attend camp? Are parents or grandparents able to travel? Has anyone in the extended family tested positive for the virus, etc.?
2. Personal “Summer Update” Communication
Let’s start with your top 25 clients; each needs a personal “Summer Update” phone call. You want to find out their plans for this unprecedented summer. Vacations plans – any changes, kids, parents, grandparents, grandchildren, etc. You’re looking for opportunities to strengthen your relationship, that emotional connection, so critical to stimulating positive word-of-mouth-influence amongst affluent investors.
You should also reach out with similar “Summer Update” calls to COIs and prospects you’ve been working on.
Your updated knowledge regarding the economy and the markets will be part of this conversation, as you’ll be asked about it. So be prepared and make certain your narrative is clear, concise and personal.
3. Summer Surprise & Delight
The idea is to follow up with each of these conversations with a small act of kindness, relative to the knowledge you gained during each “Summer Update” call. Whether it’s vacation plans that have been altered, children’s camp plans changed, parents who are isolated – each family will be different – and each will create an opportunity for what we refer to as a personal surprise & delight opportunity that’s directly related to their upcoming summer.
Our research is very clear on the impact this has on strengthening relationships, stimulating positive word-of-mouth-influence, and transforming clients into advocates, COIs into stronger referral sources, and prospects into clients.
Obviously there are many variations of what I’ve just outlined. The idea is to be in close contact with clients, COIs, and prospective clients so that you remain top-of-mind as that beacon of knowledge, trust, and empathy as we all work through these unprecedented times.
Remember, the summer is always a time to strengthen relationships and strategically acquire new clients.