Crisis Management for Financial Advisors

Crisis Management

How to protect - and grow - your business during periods of market volatility

“Never let a good crisis go to waste.”

Some people think Rahm Emmanuel said that. Others plump for Winston Churchill. Regardless, it’s something you should memorize. That’s because market volatility presents a unique opportunity for you. Even though it can be scary – for advisor and investor both – it’s also a chance for you to cement your relationship with clients and enhance your relationship with prospects.

But to take advantage of this opportunity, you must have a crisis management strategy.

Come back with me to autumn of 2001. The nation—indeed, the world—was still coming to grips with the 9/11 terrorist attacks. This was especially true of financial advisors, as noted by a writer named Thomas Kostigan. On November 20th, he published an article in CBS Market Watch titled, “Financial advisors ran, hid on September 11.” Among other things, Kostigan found that less than one in five advisors called their clients during the period right after September 11. As a result, as many as one third of all clients not contacted by their advisor looked to switch to someone else.

Kostigan found the same phenomenon occurred after the stock market crash in October of ’97. Back then, only 18.3% of advisors called their clients. Once again, many of the clients they didn’t contact got fed up and started looking for someone else to help them reach their financial goals.

I imagine that if Kostigan were to update his article, he would find similar data in 2002 … and again in 2008 … and for that matter, early 2016.

Now look at it from another angle. According to Kostigan, as many as one third of all uncontacted clients looked to switch to another advisor after 9/11.

That’s tens of thousands of investors. Frustrated. Unhappy.


With a crisis management strategy, those investors are nothing less than very interested potential clients. But without a crisis management strategy, your own clients become someone else’s prospects.

The Law of Handholding

The first step in building a crisis management strategy is to follow something I like to call The Law of Handholding, which says:

“When there is bad or alarming news about the markets, clients need to be told what to think – and quickly.”

If you don’t tell clients what to do think, they start to worry. Then they start to mutter. Then they start to wonder whether their brother-in-law, who works as an advisor for BIG COMPETITOR Inc., wouldn’t do a better job managing their money.

To follow the law of handholding, employ these steps whenever market volatility hits:

    1. Send out an email AS SOON AS POSSIBLE explaining what’s going on, why, and what you’re doing about it to all your clients
    2. Send a letter to anyone who doesn’t have or want email
    3. Send that same letter to all your prospects
    4. Have your assistant start calling clients on the phone. Ask them the following questions:
      1. Did you see the email/letter?
      2. Do you have any questions?
      3. Is there anything you are worried about that the email didn’t address?
    5. Once you have called all your clients, start calling prospects.

Once you do this, several things will magically start to happen:

First, it won’t be uncommon for one or two clients to say, “Thanks for calling. BTW, I have $500,000 in another account that I’d like your opinion on.”

Second, once clients come to expect that you will contact them during periods of market volatility, they’ll stop worrying about it. In fact, when your assistant calls, more often than not, your clients will say: “Everything’s fine. I trust you guys to take care of it.”

Third, prospects start asking for appointments with you.

You see how having a crisis management strategy can help you protect and grow your business? You see how market volatility can actually be an opportunity?

To help you put your crisis management strategy together, I’m happy to offer two free goodies, which you can find in the DOWNLOADS section in the bottom-right:

The Dale Carnegie letter. This is one of my company’s simplest and most successful handholding letters, suitable for almost any crisis. Hundreds of my clients have sent it out to great result; now I’m offering it to you for free. It’s just a tiny sample of the thousands of great messages we have.

Survival Strategy: Keep What You Got. This lays out a strategy you can use to help solidify client retention during crises. Read it and live by it.

(Note: to download these documents, you will need to register. It’s free. Once you have registered, you will be taken back to the home page. To get back here, click the Free Marketing Help link at the top, then choose Sales Pipeline from the drop-down menu.)




Every single BGM client follows the Law of Handholding. Every single BGM client has a crisis management strategy. That’s because we make it easy for them. Here’s just a few of the things we have to offer:

  • Every single time major market volatility hits, we release at least one new handholding message for advisors to use. Very often, we release two or three. Every time.
  • Market volatility phone scripts, for both clients and prospects.
  • Cold calling scripts specifically for times of market volatility, if you want to generate new prospects.
  • Our “Frustrated Yet?” prospecting campaign, which helps you find prospects who are frustrated with the markets or with their current advisor and want a change.
  • And more!




How Does Your  Crisis Management Strategy Stack Up?

A Bill Good Marketing System User You

On the day of a crisis, you get a handholding message out to your clients, first by email, then letter for those who do not have or want email.

YES! ?

You have educated your clients in advance about your investment philosophy and what to do during market volatility.

YES! ?

Your entire team gets on the phone and calls clients using talking points to ensure every client is calm and has their questions answered.

YES! ?

When you have taken care of clients, you mail and call your prospects.

YES! ?