With all this market volatility, both on the upside and downside, what’s an advisor to do? In a word, communicate.

Not in an alarmist way, but in a way that positions you as a leader, as one who is the voice of insight and reason while everyone else is cowering in fear.

I’d like to arm you with some talking points. I know it can be very time-consuming to read all the commentary out there, collect your thoughts and figure out what to say to your clients in volatile times like these. My hope is you can find a few gems here that will help you communicate with your clients and prospects and make it easier for you to step up your visibility in the media.

Curated Comments And Links

• Have a point of view. Clients pay you because you are an expert at what you do. And now’s the time when your expertise should be on full view. Get clear on what your view of the current situation is. I’m not talking about making a market prediction. Rather, come up with a way to put the current situation in context. For example, you could develop your view by answering the following question: “What are the three things we are saying/recommending to our clients right now?”

• Be visible. In volatile times like this, many clients become receptive to finding a new advisor. So, get out and be visible. Reach out to the local TV and radio stations and offer to give an update on what investors should be doing to deal with the volatility. Write an article for the local newspaper or business periodical. While you should be the voice of reason, you also need to have a strong point of view. The media won’t get excited if all you say is, “stay the course, invest for the long term.” To learn how to pitch the media, listen to my podcast with Jim Pavia at CNBC, and/or read the transcript.

• Communicate via multiple forms of media. We all learn in different ways so as you communicate, use different forms of media. I like charts because you can take in a lot of information at one glance. Some people like to watch videos or listen to audio. Here are some links to charts, videos and blogs you might find helpful on this topic.

FRED economic data from the St. Louis Fed Bank —This is a treasure trove of charts and data from a source you can trust.

DSHORT at AdvisorPerspectives — A more colorful way to look at market and economic trends. Check out this example

The market cycle of emotions chart — This one never goes out of style. Keep it handy.

Create a short video — Here’s a video from advisor Justin Castelli that he sent to his clients discussing his take on what’s happening and what his clients should do (or not do).

• Publish a bonus podcast episode. If you do podcasts, do a special episode on the current market environment. I know some of you are concerned that if you give this market too much attention, you may cause your clients to become unnecessarily alarmed. Don’t worry; if you do it right, your clients will be super thankful. And remember, research shows that at times like this, “failure to communicate” is the #1 reason why clients fire their advisor. 

• Seek viewpoints at the edges. It’s easy to fall into confirmation bias. So make sure you’re getting both sides of the story so you can make an informed opinion. For example, John Hussman has been very concerned about high valuations for a long time. As a former academic, he writes in great detail and is very transparent when he misses the mark. See his most recent update here.

• Be quotable. Whether you’re speaking or writing, spend time to come up with short, pithy quotes for your key points that are both memorable and informative. These are what your audience will remember. They can either be your quotes or quotes from other people. Here are some examples.

• “One moment of patience may ward off great disaster. One moment of impatience may ruin a whole life.” –Chinese Proverb

“Short-term pain is the tax we pay for long-term gain.”

“Fear is normal. Acknowledge it. Then let it go.”

“The desire to perform all the time is usually a barrier to performing over time.” – Robert Olstein

“To buy when others are despondently selling and to sell when others are avidly buying requires the greatest of fortitude and pays the greatest ultimate rewards.” – John Templeton 

Here’s a link to a few more quotes.

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