Just because your offering has been suspended doesn’t mean communication with your distribution partners should stop.
In fact, it’s a perfect time to showcase your commitment to your partnership by continuing communications with both home office contacts and advisors.
Home Office Contacts
Like everyone, your home office contacts have had to adjust to the virtual work environment. And their resources are being used to keep up with their investment offerings, monitor results, determine how Reg BI applies, and continue to provide advisors with the alternative investments their clients want.
Sounds like a big job. So how can you make life easier for your home office contacts? How can you best serve their needs?
- Provide market updates/articles that pertain to your industry sector. Introduce them with a couple bullet points on why you thought your contact would find the information interesting.
- Communicate news on your offering early and transparently. Outline changes and updates rather than simply forwarding a link to a press release or filing.
- Ask permission to communicate with advisors. You may be inclined to reach out to advisors like you always have and ask your home office contacts for forgiveness later if they frown on your communications. Instead, use the opportunity to strengthen your relationship. Develop a communication plan for input/approval to let your distribution partners know you’re operating with them and their financial advisors in mind. While it’s tempting to skip a plan and submit one-off communications instead, a plan shows a more thoughtful and partner-centric approach.
44% of advisors find communicating effectively with clients during volatile markets stressful.* How can you help?
Consider advisor communications from their point of view – not yours. What are they struggling with? What’s their daily environment look like? How can you simply help them – even if it doesn’t immediately result in them dropping a ticket? Remember, those firms and wholesalers who focus on relationship building in uncertain times are the ones that will be top of mind for advisors when things settle down.
- Help advisors communicate with their clients. Provide talking points to give advisors a reason to call their clients with an update on their investment in your product. Remind them of any client-approved email templates or materials you have available. Or offer to speak on a client conference call or webinar to provide a market update on your sector.
- Make finding answers to common questions easy. Replace a product pitch call with a tour of your firm’s website to show advisors where to find key information (e.g., distributions, performance, portfolio). Encourage them to bookmark important pages. Maximize your time by scheduling a website tour webinar for your entire territory.
- Educate advisors. An educated advisor is your best customer. Think about where their knowledge gaps are today. Where can you help educate them on how various alternative investments compare, about industry trends, or even why your offering is dark and the criteria your firm is striving for to bring it back online.
- Reach out to centers of influence. Expand your reach by connecting with centers of influence at your distribution partners. How can you help field leaders, super OSJs or complex managers provide their advisors with valuable educational content? Position yourself as a resource to help their advisors navigate topics like market fundamentals, investment product comparisons or recent investor trends.
*Study: The War on Stress, 2019, Financial Planning Association, Janus Henderson Investors, Investopedia.