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Top financial professionals shine in times of crises. Whether it’s reassuring clients and centers-of-influence or reaching out to prospective clients, they’re prepared—and they take action. Much of what we learned from the financial crisis of 2008-2009 and the bear market of 2020 can be directly applied today. Financial professionals who put in the hours now will solidify client relationships while finding prospecting opportunities that didn’t previously exist.

First, Ask Top Clients About Their Anxiety Level

Big Drops and Rises Create Prospecting Opportunities

The Dow’s Largest Point Losses and Gains

Largest daily
Point Gains
3/24/2020 2,112.98
3/13/2020 1,985.00
4/6/2020 1,627.46
3/26/2020 1,351.62
3/2/2020 1,293.97
Largest Daily
Point Losses
3/16/2020 -2,997.10
3/12/2020 -2,352.60
3/9/2020 -2,013.76
6/11/20 -1,861.82
3/11/20 -1,464.95

You clients may not be overly anxious about recent market drops, but their friends and family members may be. Offering to help can lead to prospecting opportunities.

Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investors cannot directly invest in an index.

Source: Factset, 2021

Your goal is to get introductions to clients’ contacts by offering to help their anxious friends and family members. Begin by identifying your top clients who are your biggest fans, preferably clients with whom who you have both a business and social relationship. These clients may be most willing to provide introductions.

Next, call these top clients and ask them about their level of concern regarding market conditions. For example, “I’m just getting a pulse from everybody out there who we work with; on a scale of one to ten, what’s your current level of concern with regards to the markets right now, and your portfolio?”

A person answering “one” would be not worried at all. Someone answering “ten” would be extremely anxious. Most of your clients probably won’t be a level-10. This is a natural question to ask, especially after many of the 1,000-, 2,000-, and nearly 3,000-point daily swings in the Dow. Plus, it demonstrates that you care about how they’re feeling. If any clients are concerned (and answer between 5-10), reassure them of the plan you’ve built together.

After addressing your clients’ level of concern, uncover prospects by asking if they have any friends or family members who are anxious about the market.

Second, Identify Anxious Prospects

To uncover your clients’ anxious contacts, who could benefit from speaking with you, ask this related question: “I’m sure you’ve talked to a lot of people about the market’s volatility. Do you know anyone whose anxiety is at a level 10?” Or, you might ask: “Is there anyone you know who’s overly distraught about this, has a lot of anxiety, or is very unsettled about what’s happening in the markets?”

The names your client reveals can be your prospects. So how can you connect with them?


Third, Request A Connection

Ask your client about the anxious person they identified. You could say: “Are they doing OK? I’ve helped people through challenging times before. I know things can take a toll. I’d be happy to have a conversation with them to talk to them about their concerns.” Or, you could ask, “What’s the best way for me to connect with them?” You may find that clients are more than willing to help because they like you and they want to help their friend or family member.

Keep in mind that using this strategy is a numbers game. Don’t expect significant results from making one call to a client. The more calls you make, the greater the probability of positive results.


“Will My Client See This As A Manipulative Strategy?”

Because of your experience and expertise, you’re uniquely qualified to help investors create a financial plan and guide them to achieve those goals. Sure, it’s possible that a client might perceive you asking about their friends’ or family members’ concerns about the market as being “salesy.” But it’s more likely that they’ll appreciate your efforts to help people they know, especially if you’re prospecting with sincerity and skill.


Remember Three Things About This Referral Method

First, begin by asking a few of your top clients about their level of concern about current market conditions. Next, ask if they have any friends or family members who are highly concerned about the market. The people they identify may be prospects you can help. Third, ask you client about the best way for you to connect with their friend or family member.


When Anxiety Is High, The Potential For Mistakes Is Also High

During past periods of volatility, you’ve probably had to encourage clients to stick to the plan and help prevent them from making investment decisions they’d later regret. Without expert guidance, your clients’ friends and family members who are anxious about volatility are at risk of making investment mistakes. Asking about their levels of concern gives you a way to find clients’ contacts who are most at risk and provides an opportunity for you to offer help. 

Next Step

Ask three top clients this week about their level of concern, then ask if they have any friends or family members who are concerned about the market environment. Then ask your client if they’d be willing to connect you with them. below

Get Oechsli Affluent Prospecting Methods >


Index Description

Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted average of 30 significant stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq.



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