The huge opportunity the coronavirus lockdown presents to financial advisers and planners*
Written by Phil Bray on 26/03/20
It’s exactly three weeks since we sent the first reassuring email to a financial planner’s clients. In the following weeks, our content team has done a fantastic job sending thousands of reassuring and informative emails to clients. Our analysis shows they’ve been well-received too, with open rates higher than those for regular newsletters.
At the same time, many advisers and planners have also called their clients to discuss markets, talk about the impact on financial plans and to offer an ear to people who are naturally anxious right now.
With one possible exception (see below) we’re probably coming to the end of this critical initial period where swift communication with clients has been so vital. Even if many are understandably anxious (who wouldn’t be right now) in most cases they understand that market volatility, even at these extreme levels, is part and parcel of investing.
That said, many will still need information, confidence and reassurance for some time to come. The exact dose of each and the method of delivery will vary from client to client.
We believe there will be a second wave of people who need their adviser or planner to provide said confidence, reassurance and information.
These people are likely to be senior executives, managers and business owners who have been in crisis management mode over the past few weeks. They’ve been transitioning their teams to remote working, dealing with clients/customers and focused on mitigating the impacts of coronavirus. Indeed, some business owners might have even been fighting for their very survival.
As things calm down and we all get used to home working it’s only natural that their thoughts will turn to their finances and how falls in markets will impact them.
So, if you work with these types of people, now’s the time to get on the front foot. Send targeted email communications, organise webinars, be present on social media and, as always, pick up the phone.
The prospect opportunity
So, with existing clients reasonably calm and an ongoing communication strategy in place, now’s the time to turn your attention to the opportunity* these current circumstances present: the additional time we will all spend online during the lockdown period. That includes millions of people who have never engaged with a financial adviser or planner. These people haven’t had the benefit of your knowledge, wisdom and coaching over the years. They will be more anxious and in need of confidence, reassurance and information than your existing clients.
Now is your opportunity to step up, be there for them and start to build relationships.
So, what should you be doing? Two things:
1. Produce more content
Bill Gates said in the 1990s; content is king.
That’s never been truer than it is now. Content can be used to provide the three things people need right now:
- What does the current volatility mean for me?
- Will I still have ‘enough’?
- How will the measures announced by the government help me and my business?
- I’m self-employed, what help is available for me?
- Are you available right now? How do I contact you?
- How will my financial position be affected in the short, medium and long term?
- That they’re still on track to achieve their plans
- If they’re not, that they have options to bring things back on track
- That you and your team are still there for them in the short and long term
- That their faith and patience in the plan, and you, will be rewarded
- That this will pass, and they are doing the right thing by remaining invested
- That you are there for them
- That investment markets will recover
- That their portfolio is diversified
- That financial planning is essential right now
- That the mainstream media are sensationalist and don’t project reality
It can be produced in many forms:
Choose whichever you are most comfortable with, or can easily outsource, and get started. Then get it into the hands of the right people, which brings us neatly to the second thing you should be doing right now…
2. Hang out on social media
The chances are that people won’t openly talk about their concerns online. However, if they see your content while they are browsing, they might engage with it and you.
Even if you’re doubtful of the theory because you’ve not tried it before, trust us. It works!
The first thing to do is understand where your target clients hang out online. For some, it’ll be Facebook, for others LinkedIn or Twitter. But you need to be where they are. That might not be your preferred social media platform. Nevertheless, you need to go to them.
Next, use the content you’ve created to position yourself as the go-to expert. Now isn’t the time for sales, but to be helpful, useful and above all sensitive.
I know many advisers and planners are still nervous about social media:
- “I’m worried about looking bad.”
- “I’m concerned about making a mistake.”
- “How do I stay compliant?”
Whether it’s organic posts of adverts, now’s the time to cast aside these fears and dive in. Avoid posting financial promotions, don’t say anything completely stupid, and don’t post after a drink, and you’ll be fine!
Threats and opportunities
We believe that many financial advisers and planners are coming to the end of the initial period of threats. The evidence I’m seeing is that most of their clients understand this is period of volatility is part and parcel of investing and that they are now, more than ever, seeing the benefits of financial planning.
It’s giving them the confidence and reassurance they need right now.
So, notwithstanding the second wave of concerns from people who have been distracted by other things. Now is the time to take advantage of the opportunities the current situation present.
That means taking action. It’s those advisers and planners who take the bull by the horns, remember that good and done is better than perfect and put the hard yards in (or delegate to a third party) that? will maximise the current opportunity.
As always, we are here to help. We’re working remotely, otherwise, it’s business as usual. So, if you’d like to chat, email [email protected] or call 0115 8965 300.
*When I talk about ‘opportunity’ please don’t think that I am in any way belittling the threat to us all from coronavirus. As a business owner, who employs 22 people and has a son and parents who are in the high-risk group I’m all too aware of the threats. I just believe that there are always opportunities in every situation and we all know, only too well, what the threats are.