In January, LaVista, Neb., broker-dealer Securities America announced a new program called "Power Up," a series of Webinars that shows the company's advisor reps how to survive and grow in any market-including the rather miserable one we're all enduring right now.

The problem, says Kirk Hulett, Securities America's senior vice president of strategy and practice management, is that many advisors have simply become immobilized by the sudden, dramatic changes in the market.

"Recognizing that our advisors need additional support right now to not only survive but thrive, our rapid response team came up with Power Up," says Hulett.

As part of the program, Securities America reps are invited to participate in a series of Webcasts, each about an hour in length, that require homework and a follow-up study group call a week later. "As part of this program, we provide participants with various resources, including worksheets, scripts, news release templates and client-ready presentation materials," says Hulett, and these are "designed to have an immediate impact on the advisor's business."

The various Webcasts address the different-and most serious-problems advisors are now experiencing: the need to control costs; to deal with clients afraid to get back into the market; and to come up with marketing strategies that help them offset lost clients or revenue.

"We have a new reality that has emerged, and we want to help our advisors tailor their business to this new reality," says Hulett. "We don't know yet whether the changes we're seeing are merely incremental or revolutionary, but we believe it's better for advisors to respond to these changes now than to wait and be behind the curve later. The Power Up program is designed to get our advisors to think about all aspects of their business and, bottom line, for them to do something rather than nothing, because we know the latter seldom leads to success."

He says Securities America has seen attendance double since the first sessions. "Interest in the topics we present seems to really be growing-topics such as how to capture rollover opportunities that are emerging as clients are getting laid off from their jobs."

The company's "Top Advisors Conference" then serves as a forum for the follow-up, where advisors spend time in study groups exchanging notes about their experiences during the downturn and discussing what has worked and not worked for them. "We'll take the content that emerges from these discussions," says Hulett, "and that will become new content for the Power Up program, which we'll run through at least June, and perhaps the end of 2009."

Another firm getting help to its advisors is Commonwealth Financial Network of Waltham, Mass., which is offering not only tangible tools to its reps but giving them ways to share information and encouragement with each other. One Commonwealth program designed to help reps weather the storm is the company's "Voices from the Field" teleconferences.

"We began offering these last October," says Joni Youngwirth, Commonwealth's managing principal of practice management, "as a way in which advisors can share their own stories about how they're coping with the stress of these times, how they're dealing with clients and how they've been able to find opportunities amidst the turbulence."

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