Why Some Advisors Have Had Record Years During the Pandemic (and What You Can Learn From Them)
When I meet with a new financial firm or I call a client I haven’t spoken to in a while, I like to ask them, “How’s business been lately?”
And since the pandemic, almost every one of our clients seems surprised by their own response: “It’s been the best two years I’ve ever had.”
To be fair, when lots of people are worried about losing their jobs or downsizing, this level of success is a little out of the ordinary. And it’s not as if they’re glad it happened–it’s been a rough time for everyone personally–but professionally, the majority of our clients are doing better than ever. There are some who have hit rough spots because they used to rely on in-person presentations or a similar means of meeting new clients, but for most of the advisors we work with, 2020 and 2021 have been record years. The pandemic hit, and their business is booming.
This is impressive, especially when you consider that most of the people who start in the financial services industry don’t even make it past the first few years. But there are a select few who stick it out, grow their practice, and rise to the top. Those are the kinds of advisors we work with. They’re some of the best in the industry, and they’re growing—even in the middle of a pandemic.
So why are these advisors having their best years ever? Having worked with hundreds of top financial professionals across the country, I can tell you they have several things in common…
How Successful Advisors Become Great
In its simplest form, the role of an advisor is to help people grow, protect, and manage their money. They learn about people and their financial situations, discuss their short- and long-term goals, and create plans to accomplish them.
But the best advisors are much more than that. They’re the trusted confidants clients come to when they have to make an important financial decision. They’re wise counselors in difficult seasons of life. They’re valuable resources for business advice. They’re friends.
How do these advisors get to that point? They spend tons of energy making sure their clients are cared for, comfortable, and stress free. They talk to clients—whether that’s via in-person meetings, Zoom meetings, or phone calls. They spend time getting to know them as individuals, not as numbers in a database. And when they do discuss business, they don’t just blithely assure clients that everything will be okay; they explain why and how. They educate clients, talk numbers, and proactively reach out to adjust their strategies when needed.
And they did all this before the pandemic.
In short, they’re there for their clients, not just waiting for the phone to ring, but proactively and intentionally building relationships. Rather than prospecting to grow their business—spending countless hours “getting out there” and meeting people—they’re serving the heck out of the people they already work with. And it’s paying back in spades.
Why This Strategy Works
I don’t have to tell you that this is a hard time in our world. We’ve been on this pandemic train for a long time, but people are still worried, scared, and uncertain. Life has changed drastically, and our country has experienced unprecedented turmoil and dissension—so it doesn’t matter who you are, how much money you have, or what your political views are—this is a hard season to walk through. And people are looking for stability. They’re looking for comfort, peace, reassurance.
People want peace and reassurance about their finances all the time, but they need it now. So when the pandemic hit and they had an advisor who provided reliable knowledge, stability, and comfort, it meant the world to them. They may have liked their advisor before; now they love them. Now they’re a raving fan. Because while the rest of the world is in a panic and wondering if their financial future is stable, they’re okay. They’re taken care of.
And as these great advisors spend so much time with clients—reviewing portfolios, asking how they’re doing—they’re not only giving their clients peace, they’re creating opportunities for growth. They’re identifying needs that need to be met, problems they can help solve. In doing so, clients become more confident and comfortable, which often prompts them to move more of their assets under that advisor’s management. It’s a trust snowball that keeps growing, picking up more and more opportunities to help clients (and, consequently, build the advisor’s business).
The Referral Gold Mine
Now imagine all the people who didn’t have an advisor when the pandemic hit. Suddenly they’re furloughed, their portfolio is out of whack, the news is delivering frightening statistics, and they’re lost. They don’t know what to think.
You know what they realized?
I really need to meet with somebody.
So those golden opportunities—those “Hey, who do you work with?” questions—are happening now more than ever before. The pandemic created the perfect referral storm for relationship-centric advisors—not only are their clients exceptionally happy with the work they’re doing, but those clients’ friends and family members are asking to meet them. And those contented, satisfied clients are responding enthusiastically, “Yes, you have got to call my guy.”
That’s why advisors who focus on serving the heck out of their clients and making them feel cared for are not only “getting by” during this tumultuous economic season—they’re growing like crazy.
Your Path to the Top
It doesn’t take a pandemic to up your game; people don’t need to be terrified and in lockdown for you to increase your level of service. Take stock of the clients you already have and start sowing into them. Instead of worrying about prospecting and cold calling, focus on communicating, building relationships, and giving your clients that extra dose of attention and reassurance. Because pandemic or not, when you build strong relationships and take great care of people, they feel peace and contentment and become raving fans—and you experience incredible growth.