Four Ways To Communicate With Clients Amid Market Volatility

view original post

Abby Salameh, Chief Marketing Officer, CAIS & Head of CAIS IQ.

If you’ve been paying attention to the news lately, you’ve probably heard the word “recession” being thrown around. Inflation is at a 40-year high and is affecting everything from the cost of groceries to the price of gas. In addition to those higher bills, we’ve officially entered a bear market.

Volatile markets and an uncertain economy can combine to create a breeding ground for nervous clients—clients who may then turn to their advisors for reassurance. Sure, you can remind them that market downturns recover, but some clients need more—and the more you can communicate, the better.

Communication can be so critical when it comes to engaging and retaining clients—and yet it can be so easily overlooked. According to one 2019 report from YCharts, more than 1 in 4 clients reports that their advisor contacts them “very infrequently,” and more than half stated that more frequent contact would increase confidence in their financial plan.

Think those stats don’t apply to you? Here’s another that might make you do a double take: A 2021 study (via RIA Intel) showed that advisors rated their own performance 15%–36% higher than their clients did in all categories—including how well they kept clients informed about investment performance in down markets.

MORE FOR YOU

I can’t understate the importance of regular communication with your clients, especially in today’s market. Let’s explore some steps one can take to increase effective communication and boost client confidence in their financial plans.

Keeping In Touch

Increased communication can help advisors maintain stronger relationships, retain clients and build more rapport in the industry. But what does that increased communication look like? And will it take time and money away from your firm’s other tasks?

Thanks to today’s tech, you can create more frequent communication with your clients without adding much to your workload. Here are a few tried-and-true strategies you can use to get in touch with your clients:

1. Emails

One mode of communication that spans every generation is email.

Emails can be an effective way to send out quick reminders, newsletters and important announcements. It’s easy to access, has options for personalization and is appropriate for professional purposes. You can also schedule emails, making it easier to fit them into your schedule and optimize when your clients will receive them.

Beyond that, emails can also support the ability to send different types of data, such as charts, tables, images and more—something that’s just not possible over the phone.

My recommendation: When in doubt, you can’t go wrong with an email.

Bonus Tip: Don’t skip the email personalization. It’s a quick and painless addition that your clients will appreciate (and likely expect).

2. Texts And Phone Calls

Phone calls and texts might be more time-consuming than emails, but they also offer the opportunity for one-on-one conversations in real time. And while texting might be restricted or prohibited for compliance reasons, many platforms now create additional flexibility for you to reach clients wherever they prefer—from WhatsApp to Facebook Messenger to plain old text messages.

For top-tier clients that need truly personalized communication, you can always pick up the phone or schedule a time to talk.

Bonus Tip: While I’ve found that text messaging is becoming an increasingly popular mode of communication between clients and their advisors, it’s best to get the go-ahead from your compliance department and client before you begin. A great way to address this is to allow clients to opt in or out of texts during your onboarding process.

3. In-Person Meetings

I know: Regular in-person meetings with every client wouldn’t leave much room in your schedule for running your business. But when the markets are acting up, sometimes a face-to-face meeting is the only thing that will ease their anxiety.

In-person meetings may allow you to truly get to know your clients, and I’ve found that they build more trust than any other form of communication. Your clients are entrusting you with their financial future—they will likely want to get to know you, too.

Bonus Tip: Want to meet one on one with your clients but can’t find the time? Consider hosting an annual event for your staff and clients to meet and mingle. This can be a great way to put a face to those names without eating up too much of your schedule.

Send out a thank you and add a couple of posts to your social media afterward, and you’re golden.

4. Blogs

Lastly, blogs are a great way to engage with clients and communicate your ideas to a larger audience all at once. If you write one article addressing your thoughts and approach to the current market and a quarter or even half of your clients read it, that cuts the number of individual conversations you may need to have down considerably.

And chances are good that your advice won’t change that much from one period of volatility to the next, so you will ultimately be able to reuse content for the next time. For that reason, you may not want to go into too much detail about the specifics in your articles.

Bonus Tip: Your blogs don’t just have to live on your website—you can create social media posts leading back to your blog or even add links to your newsletters. If you’re going to spend time creating quality content, you want to make sure that people are reading it, right?

Talking The Talk With Confidence

An important thing to remember when you’re speaking with your clients about a down market is to remain calm. You are the fountain of financial knowledge, and if you’re nervous, your clients may also feel uneasy. Address their concerns head-on and remain transparent in your communications.

Most importantly: Remind your clients of their long-term goals and talk about how you can aim to stay on track to meet those goals.

Volatile markets can make for nervous clients and an increased need for regular communication. With these strategies in place, you can more easily calm their fears and keep your cool.


Forbes Communications Council is an invitation-only community for executives in successful public relations, media strategy, creative and advertising agencies. Do I qualify?