Are You Sending the Wrong Message to Prospective Clients?

The way we communicate has changed.

  • Why do we start every email by checking in on the health of the recipient and his or her family? Because it would seem strange if we didn’t.
  • Why are we talking more about our lives than our portfolios? Because it would seem strange if we didn’t.

If someone doesn’t acknowledge the current situation when they communicate with us, it feels like they have somehow missed that everything has changed. Or perhaps that they don’t care.

But things have changed and we do care.

The problem is that while the majority of advisors are deftly communicating understanding, caring and empathy in one-on-one conversations, the same isn’t true for their public communications, particularly their websites. And if your website is one of the first places that a prospective client goes to learn more about you, you may be sending exactly the wrong message.

What Message Are You Sending?

Today, I conducted an entirely unscientific poll and went to the sites of 10 of the largest advisory firms that came to mind. I won’t share their names but you are probably familiar with many of them.

Of the 10 sites, only 3 referenced Covid-19 on the home page. Of those three only two linked to resources, while the third provided an update on working from home and how to share files electronically.

  • At best, it felt like something was missing.
  • At worst, it was a missed opportunity to acknowledge the questions that prospective clients have in the current environment and to demonstrate commitment and support.

In this environment (or any environment for that matter) your website not only needs to acknowledge what is on the minds of your prospective clients, but to try and answer those questions. It turns out that the key question, in the midst of a global economic and health crisis, isn’t how long you’ve been in the business or the range of services you provide.

People want to know if they will be ok. They want to know that you understand their challenges. They want to find resources that will help them look forward. They are looking for hope and for inspiration.

You have the opportunity to provide that by:

  1. Acknowledging that we are in this crisis
  2. Sharing links, tools, videos or blog posts that provide meaningful support

What does your website say about you, in the current environment?

You don’t need to have the answers to all the problems, but you do need to acknowledge that a problem exists.

I understand that updating your site takes time and money. I don’t think this has to be complicated. By way of example, we added a simple note to our home page and linked to a resource that we were providing. It was simple and will, I’m sure, evolve, but we needed to let you know that we were in this together.

The equation for effective communications hasn’t changed.

  • Acknowledge.
  • Empathize.
  • Support.

However, these days we need to take heed more than ever before.  You don’t want to run the risk of communicating ‘normally’ in a decidedly abnormal environment.

Related: Why Advisors Can Talk About Growth