Unlocking Real Value Blog

If Your Clients Are Worried, You Should Be Too

As we approach the new year, according to at least one poll, advisors and their clients aren’t on the same page. Clients are  more worried about the outlook for the economy in 2013 than their advisors are, with implication that advisors should put their optimism aside for a minute and concentrate on how they can address their client’s concerns.

First, the poll itself, which was conducted by SEI, a provider of fund processing and investment management outsourcing services. 86% of the 275 advisors polled felt that the economy will be better or the same in 2013 than it was in 2012. However, 73% of these advisors also said that their clients are apprehensive or fearful about the prospects for the year ahead. Less than 1% felt that their clients were optimistic about the year ahead.

Additionally, while 75% of the advisors polled said that they were better off than they were in 2012 as compared to four years ago, only 55% thought that their clients would share that opinion about themselves.  This second point is pretty scary if you think about it. If more advisors think that they are better off than their clients are, what does that say about how they have performed over the time period? If I felt that way about my clients, I would be very worried about losing many of them, wouldn’t you?

Many of these same advisors expressed concern over what is going on with the fiscal cliff and government dysfunction, which is somewhat at odds with their optimism for the economy. In any case, the most important implication for advisors is that regardless of your personal feelings for the outlook for the year ahead, it’s vital that you put these feelings aside and ask yourself  how you can reassure your clients about their concerns.

Hey, it’s great if you are optimistic about the coming year and beyond. But you and your clients will be best served if you can frame this optimism and explain it in such a way that it makes clients feel better and helps them feel more comfortable about their own financial futures. After all, that is what your job is. And only if clients feel better about their own outlook will they remain loyal to you. Remember – it should always be about them, not about you.

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