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How to Respond to Financial Turbulence?
Vicki Rackner MD ---  Selling to Doctors Vicki Rackner MD --- Selling to Doctors
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Minneapolis , MN
Tuesday, March 03, 2020

This weekend, I boarded my flight to go home after delivering a workshop.  As we were on the tarmac, the Captain welcomed us and warned us that it would be a bumpy ride. 

Once again we find ourselves in a time of financial turbulence.  This can be very frightening for your clients.  

How do you help your clients through times of financial uncertainty?  

Think about what makes things better for you when you are a passenger and your plane runs into turbulence.  It’s comforting to hear over the loud speaker, “This is your Captain. Just want to let you know you we’re in for a bumpy ride.  Sit down and fasten your seat belts. We should be out of this rough patch in about 30 minutes.”  

The Captain cannot control air conditions; however, his actions impact your experience.

Offer Leadership

During times of financial turbulence, your clients look to you for leadership.  Step up and act like the Captain. What does this mean?  

  •  You remain calm when things around you are chaotic.
  •  You remind clients they are not alone.  You are there.
  •  You remind clients there is a plan, and that you know just what to do.
  •  You offer concrete instructions about what they should and should not do.
  •  You offer hope.

Spring into Action

Here is how you can translate the concept of leadership into a to-do list.

  • Proactively reach out to your clients in a letter or phone call.  Consider a video chat .
  • Consider recording a video message and sending it out to your list.
  • Invite clients to a “town hall meeting.”   You can easily invite people to a video hangout on Facebook, Skype or a paid service of your choice.
  • Help clients avoid mistakes.  The evolving fields of behavioral financial and neuro-economics help us understand that people make the riskiest choices when trying to avoid losses.  Athletic coaches say games are won or lost in practice; actions during corrections impact wealth-building. 
  • Keep your clients updated as new developments unfold.
Communicate with Words and Actions that You Care

According to Gary Chapman, there are 5 “love languages” with which people deliver and receive the "I care" message:

  • Words Say,” I care about you and am committed to helping you achieve your financial goals.  We’re right on track.”
  • Gifts Consider sending your clients a stress management kit that might include herbal teas, chocolate, a “squoosh ball”, a white noise generator or a scented sachet. You could invest in branded "stress-o-meter" cards.  After all, working with you is a stress management strategy.
  • Acts of service Ask clients, “What can I do to help?”
  • Quality time This is where a town hall meeting comes in handy.  There are only so many hours in a day.
  • Touch Use with caution in the business setting

Be Guided by a Client's Pain Personality © 

Understand that different clients respond to pain differently.  As a surgeon I noticed five patterns of responses I call the "pain personalities". I believe that this pain personality is shaped in childhood and is largely unalterable.  Each needs something different during turbulent times.

  • The Strong Stoic This is the person who takes pride in strength and hides vulnerability.  Remind them of their courage.
  • The Ostrich While the Strong Stoic recognizes and hides financial pain, the Ostrich wants to pretend that everything is okay.  Tell them you’re on top of this.
  • Worried Well Imagine a Chicken Little constantly worried about impending financial doom.  Remind them that you know exactly what to do.
  •  The Victim Some people experience themselves as victims of external circumstances. Further, they’re certain they cannot change their reality.   Prepare yourself for drama. I decided not to work with victims.
  • The Ideal The ideal client discerns the difference between a little problem and a big problem, and responds on a timely basis with minimal drama.
Each person in a relationship, including you, your client and your client’s spouse, brings his or her own pain personality. Some combinations are volatile. Imagine a Strong Stoic married to a Worried Well.

Look to the Past

If clients are behaving in a highly emotional or uncharacteristically irrational way, ask them about financial traumas in their past.  Changes are good that they are responding to the past rather than the present.

Look to the Future

Offer your predictions about how and when the turbulence will resolve.  Clients know that you do not have a crystal ball; however, you know more about market behaviors than they do.

This is When You Earn Your Fees

Clients may love you when the markets are strong; you become a hero in their eyes during times of financial turbulence.

Thank you for doing your job!

© 2020. Vicki Rackner MD.  All rights reserved.  You may reproduce this blog post with the following by-line.:
Vicki Rackner MD is an author, speaker and consultant who offers a bridge between the world of medicine and the world of business. She helps financial advisors acquire physician clients, and she helps physicians run more successful practices. Contact her at (425) 451-3777.

Targeting Doctors
Mercer Island, WA
(425) 451-3777