~Sally Stalcup, Stalcup Consulting
While this is a simple, time-tested best practice approach, fundamental to successfully attracting, build and retain client relationships, it’s also an approach to consider with great care during challenging times such as now.
We’ve all heard the advice that, “it’s never smart to put your head in the sand and hide during periods of underperformance”, but instead, be proactive and communicate what’s happening in a timely manner. No doubt, this is a time to be proactive, with care. This week I’ve heard some managers express hesitation with communicating with clients and consultants, worried that perhaps they may just be jamming up in-boxes along with hundreds of other correspondences being sent. That said, it would be easy to step back, hold off and say you will address this later. Don’t do it.
Instead, be strategic with the messages/communications you create. Aim for your communication to be one-page, organized with concise messaging in key sections such as:
Acknowledgment of current market challenges, appreciation of their trust and empathize with clients’ angst
Offer tangible, historical research that underscores the durability of the asset class(es) / fund(s) your firm manages
Reinforcement of your commitment to your clients/investors and consultants and plans for calls, webinars, etc. as well as the strength of your business continuity plan and procedures
Create a strategic plan with your team in terms of following up, key talk points and relying on a constant feedback loop throughout the process.
Not only is it important to stay in touch and on top of your client and consultant relationships during these challenging times, it’s also important to stay connected with other relationships – teammates/colleagues, peers, mentors, friends and family. Your in-box may be just as full as you envision your clients and consultants; however, ensuring you take the time to REPLY to those emails that may seem to not be a top priority is essential. Everyone is feeling anxious. Show you care. Small things today make a big difference. Replying to an email, acknowledging receipt, even if just to say “I received this and I’ll be in touch” goes a long way to lift someone’s spirit. It’s good to know we are here for each other. [You can also be the one who “reaches out” to that colleague, peer, mentor, friend or family member to show how much you care.]
Thoughtful, consistent communications executed by Reach Out and Reply are key contributors to not only building long-term, dependable relationships but to demonstrating to others how trustworthy and reliable you are. Repeat this – as a best practice – not only during challenging times but all the time, consistently. It’s a wonderful MO and will go a long way today and in the future.