Communication is seen as key for counselors helping clients navigate the pandemic

Financial advisers should spend the next few months talking and listening to their clients, staff and bosses, according to Julie L. Genjac, managing director of applied knowledge at Hartford Funds.

Communication is the number one key to surviving these tough times, said Genjac, who is a licensed business coach who works with advisors to help them grow and sustain their businesses. Both investors and advisor staff are worried about the future, she explained in an interview today.

Due to the emotional roller coaster everyone has been on lately, Genjac believes counselors need to hone their empathy skills.

“I tell advisors to call their clients ‘just because’. Just check them out to see how they’re doing. The circumstances for the client can change drastically in a short period of time, ”and the counselor needs to know what the client is going through, she said.

When talking about investing, “bring the conversation about the global financial world back to things that are specific to the client and their plans and goals,” she added. “Focus on what it means for the customer personally and bring everything down to a manageable level. “

Advisors should talk about what the advisor and the client can control. “There is so much going on and there is a lot that you cannot control. Have a strategy in place to deal with the situations that come out and the decisions that need to be made now, then adjust when we know more about what the pandemic is going to do, especially when it goes up and down and up again . “

Advisors can build strong relationships with clients just by listening to them, she said.

“Often what a person is actually saying is a symptom of something completely different,” she said. The client may be worried about a family member, but may project that fear onto their finances. The counselor needs to ask open-ended questions and then listen to find out what’s really going on, she said.

As advisors try to listen creatively to their clients, business leaders need to do the same with employees.

“We are not going to go back to a work environment like the one we had before,” she said. Business leaders need to share their thoughts on work situations and ask employees what they want and what they expect. Leaders shouldn’t keep their plans hidden, but should be open and honest with the team, she said.

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