Teach Your Clients Not to Watch The Evening News
In our increasingly information-driven society, it’s your job to teach clients not to believe all they hear. They need you most of all when they’re being bombarded with negative news about the markets. Being exposed to excessive information without anyone there to guide them could see your clients making bad decisions regarding their investments.
Here are a few ideas how to make sure your clients stick to the plan despite what the media say.
Paying attention to bad news causes bad decision-making
Once upon a time the evening news had a fifteen-minute slot – a limited time-period in which people were given the facts rather than endless analysis. These days we have to listen to endless (mostly negative) interpretations – from ‘so called’ experts.
Listening to so many negative reports can result in severe unease for your clients. It can make them lose perspective about their investments. The more they’re reminded about losses, the unhappier they become. Unless you can stem the tide of uncertainty within them, they could be tempted to throw the towel in when it comes to their investments.
Make clients ignore the ‘hype’
If you want to keep your clients focused on their goals rather than the news, get them to understand that current events are in endless supply. The media like to blow up occurrences into world-altering magnitude in order to up their ratings.
The sensationalist presentation of news is at odds with the facts – clichés become crises, wrong decisions become conspiracies and debts become bloated. If they check the news every fifteen minutes, they’re guaranteed to come away feeling more uneasy about the world. The more they hear, the more reasons they will find for abandoning the plan.
Keep things simple to combat the white noise
If your clients are floundering in a maze of information, they could make decisions they’ll later regret.
Prevent this from happening by providing clients with what they need to know, namely, that over time their investments are secure. Tell it concisely, confidently – and in terms they can understand.
While you understand the nature of market volatility, your clients may not. It’s your job to explain that it’s OK for markets to go up and down, so long as they rise in the long run. Get clients to refocus on what they do understand i.e. that they will need a certain amount of money by a certain time to help them achieve their financial goals.
It’s how you behave that dictates what happens next
The only thing that will keep your clients hanging in there is you. They need your independent objective advice. How you behave will dictate what happens next. You need to answer the most fundamental question of all – will the stock market continue to rise over time? Will the markets correct themselves and ensure that your clients’ hard-earned investments achieve what you have predicted over the long term?
And when we’re discussing the long term it’s worth pointing out to clients that we are talking decades rather than years. The DOW can be flat or down for ten years in a row – strengthening the case for regular contributions – but we also know that the long-term trend is positive.
You’re the antidote to their fears and doubts
When the news is bad, the antidote is you. You need to step into the breach and block out all the distractions. Be the goalkeeper. Explain that, while the markets may be volatile, nothing has changed about their reasons for investing. They still need enough money to retire on, they still need to fund their children’s education. Go back to old-fashioned values to keep your relationship with clients strong – get them to look to you rather than the white noise.
In this era of text messages, email, Facebook and Twitter, pseudo facts and rumors all pose as ‘real’ information. Trying to figure out what we need to know and what we don’t can be exhausting. So, make life easier for your clients. Keep their attention on what really matters – you and their objectives, not the news.