It can be challenging to show your value to clients in extended up-markets when things seem to be going pretty well on their own.
Down-markets, on the other hand, provide the chance to reacquaint your clients with the true reasons why they work with you, and one of the best opportunities to demonstrate your worth is during client reviews.
To keep clients calm and on course, Raymond James finds it extremely useful to have a process for your reviews starting with identifying and addressing their concerns.
Start by looking for changes in the client’s life, goals or risk profile and listen for any concerns.
If this is your first meeting since a significant market fluctuation, you might start the meeting this way:
“I’d like to take some time today to discuss the current economic/market environment, what this means to you and where we go from here in response to this situation. But before we go forward, I’d like to hear about how you are doing and feeling right now.”
A more generic starter is, “Before we get started, is there any particular issue that you want to be sure we cover today?” This offers them an element of control. Next, stop talking and consider the following tips.
- Use active listening and encourage the client to share all of their thoughts and feelings.
- Listen without resisting or justifying (either verbally or with body language).
- Wait until you’re sure you understand the client’s point of view before responding.
Now that you’ve caught up and given your clients the opportunity to shape and take ownership of the agenda, it’s time to dig in. Use a transition statement like, “During our time together today, here’s what we’ve agreed to cover …”
Use client concerns as an opportunity to educate and reduce anxiety. When clients have misconceptions or inaccurate viewpoints, start first with the personal needs, such as financial security.
Other concerns (account type, returns or manager issues) can be addressed as you come to those areas in the agenda.
During turbulent periods, many advisors fly the banner, “We’ve been here before.” This can be an effective approach because we humans tend to review our past experiences to estimate our likelihood of success with current challenges.
This market is not a scary new situation, corrections are normal and their planning takes this into account.
If the client is very stressed, the logical part of their brain may turn off. Help them restore the thinking part again through questions like,
- “How are you feeling?”
- “What do you think will happen in the future?”
- “Is that what you think will happen, or is that just how you are feeling about things right now?”
These questions help the brain move from emotional back to logical again.