Everyone problems with providing bad news to clients–and financial advisors have had to deliver a lot of bad information over the past couple years. That’s why I felt thrilled when I found out that Kathleen Burns Kingsbury, the writer of this guest post, can help advisors control difficult communications with clients. Delivering bad news to your clients is challenging.
It often stirs up uncomfortable emotions–for clients and for you. Learning how to deliver troubling news effectively in discussion and on paper newsletters is the main element to preserving good interactions with your clients in good times and bad. 1. Sandwich the bad news. Use the following analogy to help you. Think about the bad news as the meats in a sandwich that’s surrounded by two bits of bread plus some dressing to make it flavor better.
Start the discussion with thoughts or factual statements about what is working in the markets, your company or the client’s profile. Share the bad news or the meats of the problem Then. Last, end the dialogue on the positive note. Clients are human being. We all find difficult news more palatable when encircled by the right, delicious information. 2. Be immediate. Advisors and wealth managers have a tendency to speak too much when sharing bad news with clients. This is often because being the messenger makes you feel uncomfortable emotions, such as anxiety, worry, or fear. Talking more can help you are feeling better, but it confuses the client.
So combat the urge to over-verbalize. You need to be direct with the client about what is not going well. 3. Make your client feel his/her response is normal. Litigant will experience emotions after hearing bad news about their financial investments. Don’t fight this by aiming to convince the client or yourself that there surely is no reason to feel bad. Instead, take a breath and validate that this information is hard to hear and hard to give, so the situation is psychologically difficult.
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It is unexpected, how validating a client’s emotions calms them down and strengthens the advisor-client relationship over time. 4. Don’t personalize the client’s response. Many well-meaning advisors feel accountable for the pain caused by the current economy overly. It really is okay and even advisable, to have your own feelings, about the downs and ups in the market place. Just make sure you are not trying to regulate what’s out of your control and taking on too much responsibility.
Practice acknowledging your feelings and your client’s reactions without common sense. Only take responsibility for what is truly in your control. 5. Get support. The ultimate way to survive the current economy is to get support from friends and family, family and colleagues. Your job is challenging. A place is needed by you to talk, vent, and reveal your frustrations with others. Model this for your clients because this is a superb lesson for all those to learn.
Sharing difficult news is never easy, but it is a little more tolerable when you are not alone. Kathleen is founder and CEO of KBK Wealth Connection, a company passionate about helping financial services professionals and their clients master their money mindset through wealth psychology. She recently released a fresh audio program called Creating Wealth from the Inside Out. Join “How exactly to Write Blog Posts People Will Read: A Five-Week Teleclass for Financial Advisors” starting on April 22 or for my free regular monthly newsletter.