—Sammy Azzouz, president at Heritage Financial Services LLC

Communicate Proactively

“We are making sure we deliver value and expertise to them every day. If there are outside assets it is a perfect opportunity to increase AUM. We find an increase in referral business during times of recession because of our proactive communication. No advisor enjoys calling with bad news when a portfolio declines but beware if you don’t because your client will be looking for a new advisor who will be more attentive.”

—Jane Ricardi, Certified Financial Planner Professional at North Light Financial Services

Hold The Client’s Hand And Be Accessible

“Staying the course in a recession is not for the weak of heart and is particularly stressful for the unsophisticated investor.  We proactively contact our clients in all market conditions but increase our contact when the market is rocky.  Many of our clients are going it alone for the first time (either through divorce or death) and are frightened.  We try and educate them and explain to them that unless they insist on going to cash all losses are paper losses.  In addition, the phones patch over to my cell phone when the office is closed so we’re always available in the event of a panic attack.”

—Barbara Shapiro, president of HMS Financial Group

Prospect Before The Bear Market Starts

“The process of convincing investors to become clients in a recession actually starts during bull markets. When the stock and bond markets are rising, it’s easy for consumers to think that investing is easy. So we focus on consumer education, and devote lots of effort to helping them understand that bull markets don’t last forever, and that diversified portfolios are important. This advice is often ignored while prices are rising, but when the recession hits and investors start incurring substantial losses, they realize that our advice was right all along—and it motivates them to contact us. Advisors who promote high returns during bull markets aren’t of interest to investors during down markets, which is why our approach helps set us apart.”

—Ric Edelman, founder and chairman, financial education and client experience, Edelman Financial Engines

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