CEO & Founder, CLJ Advisory LLC.

Retaining clients

There is no doubt that the events of the last several weeks have changed our country and the world forever.  Many of our clients are struggling to keep their business afloat during this crisis.  Some have closed while others have had to redefine what doing business looks like in the current environment.  As financial services professionals, we too must pivot to best serve our clients who may be dealing with a financial crisis in one way or the other. 

In this article, I will discuss ways in which you can provide a higher level of service to clients who own a small business.  These suggestions may be out of the ordinary for some financial advisors.  However, in times like these we must go above and beyond to see our clients through this storm.

Here are four ways you can add additional value to your clients during this crisis.  Again, outside of a FA’s role, but highly beneficial to your clients nonetheless.

Help closed businesses request essential status 

The spread of the pandemic came to a surprise to most and many were eager to comply with government orders to keep their communities safe.  Businesses all over the country closed their doors in response to executive orders regarding “non-essential” businesses.  Since then, many states have allowed businesses to request “essential” status and reopen, albeit they qualify and comply with CDC guidelines.  Talk to your clients about this possibility and help them work through the process.  This certainly will not be the case for all but may be the case for some.  Either way, your clients will appreciate your effort.

Help them to reposition or repurpose 

You’ve probably seen restaurants close their indoor seating and move to online/curbside pickup, or clothing stores repurpose to provide PPE equipment.  Talk to your clients about how they can adjust their product or service to continue to create revenue in the current environment.  This may not be possible for some but it will be for others.  The opportunity to brainstorm with you and get the creative juices flowing will be extremely beneficial to your client.  I recently heard of a hair salon that refocused to offer online classes and tutorials.  This was not only extremely helpful to their current clientele, but it also opened the door to an entirely new audience they were not previously servicing.

Virtual webinars & workshops with experts 

Clients are faced with a lot of changes to their business.  Providing a convenient way to hear from subject matter experts is extremely beneficial.  Offer weekly or bi-weekly virtual webinars with other professionals or centers of influence.  Examples include CPAs, attorneys, or even a representative from your local SBA would be helpful.  Obviously these meetings would need to be approved through the proper channels.  However, once approved, this could be a tremendous resource to your clients.

Offer help with cumbersome applications (ugh!)

Many of you know that the SBA is offering several financial relief options for business owners.  However, many people find government websites and applications cumbersome.  I recently heard a Regional SBA Director mention that her office is flooded with calls from business owners needing help with these applications.  If you (or your team) can help 1 or 2 clients with these documents, you will be providing a great service to them.  More importantly, they will remember how you went the extra mile for them during a crisis.

To conclude, In the book THINK AND GROW RICH, Napoleon Hill said, “in every adversity lies the seed of an equal or greater opportunity.”  During this crisis, you have an opportunity to provide the seed for a greater opportunity.  Clients tend to switch advisors during troubled times.  Going above and beyond to provide additional value is a great way to retain them.

Not all of these ideas may be feasible.  However, if you can offer just one, really well, you will stand out, cement the relationship, and set yourself up for more business down the road.  

Best success ahead!

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