While most advisors confidently handle the business needs of their clients, they are much less skilled when it comes to appropriately interfacing on a personal level with grieving clients. Most awkwardly stammer over stock comfort phrases and stay in the comfort zone of annuities and stock portfolios. In many cases, well-meant intentions actually result in alienating and losing a client. Unfortunately, there are very few users’ guides for professionals on guiding and comforting clients in transition.
Once Spectrum began working with Amy Florian, they acquired the skills to comfortably communicate and support clients, their families and friends throughout the years of the grieving process. From knowing what to say at funerals to ongoing communications and gestures, the Spectrum Wealth Team now confidentially meets the business and personal needs of its clients -- even if that means being available for a brief conversation, knowing how not to judge, and always saying exactly the right things.
Business and Personal Value
After working with Amy, Spectrum Wealth Advisors has gained new business thanks to referrals from clients who trust the firm to work with loved ones and friends during the toughest times of life. They have even connected grieving clients with each other, as a way of facilitating additional support.
For Spectrum Wealth Advisors, situations that were once professionally awkward and challenging are now handled with grace, good will, and insight.
The Business Need
As the clientele ages and the business environment becomes increasingly relationship-centric, financial advisors must be able to appropriately interface with clients on a professional as well as personal level. This includes knowing how to support them through major life transitions.
Once overlooked, this skill is becoming increasingly relevant to advisory firms. Oak Brook Asset Management Corp., an investment advisory firm based in Scottsdale, AZ., is no exception.
Consisting primarily of engineers, nurses, teachers, school administrators, and business owners, most of the firm’s clients have been customers for decades. Now reaching or at retirement age, they are encountering losses, retirement and job terminations, divorces, and other major life transitions with increasing frequency. Like other advisory firms, Oak Brook Asset Management was skilled in handling their clients’ business needs, but much less equipped to appropriately communicate with them about their grief.
Like many other advisors, Firm President, Alexander J. Cudzewicz, long felt he had difficulty relating to grieving clients. Feeling awkward, he was often unsure of what to say or do and wondered if his approach was sufficient to support these clients as well as maintain the relationships.
Because there's never been a guide that really explains how to handle these potentially challenging and often professionally awkward situations, training is crucial to help firms learn how to assist clients in transition.
Working with Amy Florian, the firm began to develop the insight and practical skills to communicate and support clients in their time of grief. For example, they learned appropriate responses for uncomfortable moments at a funeral or wake. They learned how to react when a client breaks the news of a loss situation in their lives. Most importantly, they learned the value of taking the time to listen and understand what clients are experiencing as they work through their grief – even if their conversations only briefly mention finances.
The Business and Personal Value
The financial advisory business is all about trust and relationships. Learning how to effectively communicate with clients in transition has been a strong influence in the firm’s ability to reinforce trust and strengthen relationships. As Oak Brook Asset Management increasingly sees in its business, clients hire you and, more importantly, stay with you because of that.