Have you been stretched too thin during this market crisis to devote the right amount of time to your clients? If you have been busy trying to keep everything running, you probably have not left enough time to properly connect with your clients to ease their concerns and solidify those relationships.

The operational components that come with running a practice are a drag on time. They prevent you from focusing on what really drives the needle for your clients and the growth of your firm.

For advisors caught up in the minutiae, I recommend focusing on what is important: the continued well-being of clients and their families. In the Q&A below, I dive into the dilemma many advisors are facing by attempting to find the time to do everything.

Why should advisors clear their schedules to focus on clients?

Advisors typically enter wealth management wanting to focus on two main areas: helping clients achieve their goals and growing the business. What I have observed over the years is that focusing on the former naturally leads to the latter.

Advisors should be concentrating on good communication with their existing clients and activities like checking their financial plans to make sure that they are still on track. It is only by freeing up capacity from running the business that it is possible to take care of current clients and assist new investors.

Why are some advisors choosing to spend more time performing day-to-day tasks instead of having client conversations?

Some advisors find it difficult to have conversations with clients during a market crisis. With the current crisis, clients have been negatively affected from both a financial and health perspective. Many have lost jobs and others may have been forced to consider retirement. That can persuade some advisors to avoid the tough conversations and move closer to their comfort zone by focusing on the operational side of the business.

Would you say the pandemic has tested advisors to show them whether their existing processes and resources would properly support them?

The coronavirus and the volatile markets that have followed have pushed advisors to reassess whether they have the appropriate processes and proper level of resources to support their business. They can easily find themselves spending too much time on things such as rebalancing portfolios, looking for tax-loss-harvesting opportunities and writing communications to disseminate to clients on a broad range of subjects that need to be addressed during an economic crisis. When advisors prioritize tasks over assisting clients, they need to reconsider the way their business is structured.

For practices that were not prepared, how can advisors fortify their resources?

The first question that needs to be asked is, “What went wrong?” They may have concluded that they do not have enough operational support. It could have been becoming overwhelmed with writing communication pieces to keep clients informed on market conditions. Maybe they realized their technology platform failed to provide enough automation for them to efficiently execute required tasks.

As advisory firms grow, their resources inevitably become strained and running their business becomes more complex. When advisors hit this inflection point, they have two choices: 1) hire additional staff or reconfigure support roles to take over the operational components or 2) look for a strategic partner that specializes in these areas to outsource those tasks. Doing either allows an advisor to focus once again on being an advisor, which means assisting clients and having time to focus on growing the business.

Are client referrals happening during this period?

Client referrals are definitely occurring, especially “soft” referrals. Clients know people who have been adversely affected and are in need of help. Advisors should ask their existing clients if they know of anyone who has been negatively impacted and, if so, offer to assist them.

Regarding prospects seeking a new financial advisor, it is common for people to become disenchanted with their current advisor or broker after a market downturn happens. When investors’ portfolios are going up, it is easy to overlook the shortcomings. However, when markets head south, a lot of investors realize the lack of service they are receiving from their current advisor.

For advisors who do not enjoy client conversations, how can they learn to see them as a valuable use of their time (and even more important since the pandemic began)?

This is a difficult question to answer. I have been working in the advisory space for a long time, and I would argue that if advisors do not enjoy building relationships with clients through conversation, they really should not be in the business. From what I have observed, the largest growth of advisory firms occurs during down markets when they are providing good client service and practicing holistic wealth management.



As Advisor Development Officer, Brian focuses on recruiting like-minded advisors and Registered Investment Advisor firms to join Forum Financial Management (WAA’s parent company). Through a consultative approach, Brian works with firms to uncover their needs and challenges to identify ways that a partnership with Forum would be beneficial to their business. To learn more about how we can help you amplify your life’s work, contact Brian at team@waalliance.com.

We help advisors establish and grow successful wealth management practices. To learn more about how we can help you amplify your life’s work, contact us at team@waalliance.com. You can follow us on Twitter@theWAAlliance and on LinkedIn.

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