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How Financial Planners Can Market To Their Clients in a Bear Market

We’re officially in the middle of a bear market. We’ve witnessed the spread of coronavirus, and its impact on the economy (among other factors) has been profound. As a marketing firm that works with advisors, we’ve seen the impact that recent events have taken on both our clients and their clients. The American public is concerned, to put it lightly. However, it’s not all bad news.

In a recent conversation with a colleague of mine, the question came up:

How are you handling your marketing given the current state of the world?

In truth, marketing during a bear market is tricky regardless of what’s going on in the world. With the coronavirus thrown into the mix, marketing becomes even trickier. Many people will turn toward scare tactics to grow their business during this time. They’ll prey on how people are feeling in order to make sales, and increase revenue.

Instead, I’m lobbying for a different tactic: lean into your existing client base for sustained positive impact.

Shifting Your Marketing Focus

It’s tempting to grab for new clients during a bear market. As steady as you may be as a financial planner, especially if you’ve seen other bear markets like the one of 2008-2009, you’re only human. When revenue dips and clients start making rash decisions, you may want to balance your business by signing on more clients. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this. After all, is more clients ever really a bad thing?

Unfortunately, the path to gaining new clients in a bear market can be rocky. People may reach out to you organically because they realize they need a strategy, but others may shy away from working with an advisor when they’re already clutching the little savings they have.

If instead of aggressively pursuing new leads, you lean into marketing to your current clients, you’ll find more long-lasting results. Let’s talk about what that looks like.

#1: This Is Your Time To Shine

Your clients signed on to work with you for a reason – you’re awesome at what you do. Although it’s fun to see how excited they are during a bull market, your expertise truly shines in times like these. So, let them know! Be proactive in communicating exactly how you’re turning lemons into lemonade for your clients, and what you’re doing to protect them (and your team) during the coronavirus outbreak. You might go over:

  1. Different financial moves you’re making for your clients. If you’re helping clients perform a Roth conversion, refinance their mortgages, or rebalancing their portfolios – let them know.
  2. How your team can continue to serve them during the coronavirus outbreak. Are you working virtually? Are all meetings moving from in-office to Zoom meet-ups? Are you still available via phone or email if they have questions? Be specific, and outline your plan so that they know you’re on the ball.
  3. What you’re doing to support them (or your community) during these trying times. Many of my clients have kicked off an initiative where they’re delivering groceries and prescriptions to their elderly clients or members of their community. Even if you don’t have the capacity to do this, I guarantee you can do something! Even if you just offer to lend an ear to your clients if they’re overwhelmed or worried, you’re giving back.

#2: Communication is Key

Raise your hand if you’ve been on the receiving end of about 9 million COVID-19 or market-related emails this week.

It may seem like anything you say will get drowned out in the noise. I can assure you that this is not true!

Your clients want to hear from you. You play a vital role in their lives.

The more proactive you can be in your communication, the better. Be concise and honest, and update communication if anything changes (like if you choose to rebalance portfolios, or if you move to virtual meetings). I recommend communicating on all platforms. Send out a dedicated email to clients, call clients who are high-priority (like clients who pay for a higher-touch service, have an upcoming meeting, etc.), and post to social media. A dedicated blog post or video may also be in order.

#3: Don’t Belittle Fears, Focus on Empathy

It’s tempting to follow the line of “Don’t panic, stay the course.” While this sentiment is accurate and what most of your clients should be doing, it may not work as well given the general state of fear across the country today. Instead of belittling fears, focus on empathy first. In all of your communication, be personable and candid. Validate how your clients are feeling, and offer solutions where applicable.

Your job is to quell fears, but not necessarily to tell them they’re wrong to feel upset or stressed out. Even the most logical clients may act differently under this level of pressure. Approach everyone with a listening ear, and be open to hearing their concerns. The calmer you are, the calmer they will feel walking away from your conversation.

Your Clients Are Your #1 Priority Right Now

When you prioritize your clients and truly let your skillset shine during times like these, you create lifetime loyalty. Even during a bear market, this can result in an increased number of referrals, and sustained growth for your business.

Have questions? Schedule a call with us today! We’d love to help you create a marketing and communication strategy that ramps up your current client relationships!