There are whispers among your neighbours, community, and maybe even family and friends that an imminent recession is coming. Should you halt all of your marketing dollars, cut back on expenses, and go into a shut-down mode? Should you expect your clients to jump ship and pull their investments? Well, we certainly hope you weren’t going to that extreme. But you may be worried about what this will mean for retaining new clients and how your business can possibly thrive instead of barely survive.
Wondering how to thrive in a recession?
These are the 11 steps you can take to change your narrative and see consistent results in your business, regardless of the economic outcome.
#1: Don’t give up
There is one thing everyone grasps for when on the brink of the unknown – security. Both for your client and for yourself. It can feel uncomfortable allocating time, money, and resources to a marketing plan. Mainly because marketing isn’t a one-time show – it’s something you have to be strategic and consistent about. Without feeling secure, it can be easy to quit trying to thrive in a recession.
However, you shouldn’t give up – only pivot when needed. Your business will survive and be stronger than ever before. It’s doing the downturn that you foster meaningful connections that may later turn into lifelong client-advisor relationships. If there’s anything you can take away from this article, it’s this: don’t give up. History shows us that there are always better times ahead.
#2: Maintain your tone and your values
A recession isn’t the time to completely rebrand and reorganize your purpose, mission, and values. It’s recommended that you go through your website and marketing material to ensure there isn’t any insensitive information, but you don’t have to do a complete 180.
To thrive in a recession, you need to be the consistent sounding board for your clients, family, friends, and community that can depend on your business.
#3: Delegate and automate
You are the leader in your business and the financial leader for your clients. Your team looks to you for guidance in the workplace, and your clients rely on you for accurate information to keep them updated. You might have to be prepared to make tough decisions and pivot your planning during a recession. But if you’re too busy in the day-to-day operations and admin tasks, you’ll be too burnt out to perform effectively.
Track everything you do over the next month – literally every task. It may seem daunting at first, but it’ll create space for the future you to focus on growth. What can be assigned to other employees? See whether there are low-cost automated solutions that can accomplish repetitive tasks faster than you or your staff. If a task doesn’t bring in money or takes up a lot of your time, try to delegate it as best as you can.
It’s true what they say: time is money. You can make more money, but you can’t make more time.
#4: Focus on core competencies
Do what you do best – and outsource the rest. As an extension of step #3, you’ll want to focus on your core competencies, as these will likely be what helps you thrive in a recession.
What is the common theme with your current success? Are clients flocking to you for retirement planning, budgeting, family wealth planning, etc.? You’ll want to make this service the driving force since you know it’s already successful while only extending yourself by promoting that service in different ways to reach other people.
#5: Don’t stop marketing
You may need to change how you market, but don’t stop marketing whatever you do. It’s easier than ever to reach hundreds, even thousands of people in your desired marketplace through the internet and social media. If you’ve noticed your streets are quieter with the rising gas prices, maybe it’s time to rethink your billboard contract renewal. But that doesn’t mean you’re throwing in the towel for marketing.
Not sure what this will look like? Here’s some inspiration:
- Send weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly emails (whatever you can handle) that connect you with current clients, including a CTA (call-to-action) that encourages them to forward the email to someone with relevant content. An example of this could be information on retirement planning and recommend they send it to a soon-to-be retiree.
- Consistently post on social media, and connect with current clients and potential prospects.
- Start blogging. You can repurpose this for your social posts, newsletters, and with the right SEO strategy, you can drive traffic right to your website.
#:6 Allocate your budget / Measure KPIs
KPIs – key performance indicators – are the analytics that tells you what’s working and what’s not and gives you an idea of where you should be allocating your budget. It’s recommended that you have a CRM to help you keep track of your clients and their history. Where have they been coming from? If a significant portion is from word of mouth and referrals, you know you’ll want to allocate your budget to client appreciation initiatives and connecting with them. If you’ve noticed you pay fees to advertise in a magazine but have never had a single call, it may be time to consider putting that subscription on hold during a recession.
#7: Invest in and retain existing customers
As a financial advisor, you can assume that people should be able to trust you to work with you. That’s why it’s important to ensure your existing customers feel cared for, especially in a time of uncertainty. After all, it’s a lot easier to keep your current clients happy than it is to obtain new ones. Retain > Obtain!
#8: Conduct market research
With financial stress, the amount of money a person has to spend might change. Shopping habits and purchasing preferences are altered as a result. Those set up with an automatic transfer from their debits to their savings for every coffee purchase that decides to start brewing at home could see a big difference in their accounts at the month’s end, requiring a manual transfer.
While it may appear to be a smart idea to slash costs and depend on data from previous recessions, this is not a sound strategy to go in guns blazing on every forefront. Each economic downturn results from a unique set of circumstances, and as a result, no two recessions are precisely the same. Conducting in-depth market research on your intended audience will give your business an advantage over the competition. Market research may help a company survive both during and after a crisis by aligning itself with the needs of its customers.
#9: Focus on niche markets
When it comes to online marketing, you truly speak to no one when you speak to everyone. Yes, in theory, everyone should be interested in retirement planning. But who are the ones you want to work with?
Perhaps it’s mothers aged 35-45 that want to retire while simultaneously saving for their children’s weddings, college tuitions, or helping them with their first downpayment. Maybe it’s the under 30 demographic that takes their wellness seriously and could benefit significantly from compound interest.
By tailoring your messaging to these niche markets, the right people you want to work with will hear you.
#10: Remain consistent
While dreaming of a rebrand with flashy new colours, maybe a new firm name, or updating your messaging can be an exciting time when a recession hits, it may be best to hold off. Your existing clients and those in the community that know you are likely the ones that will recognize you and refer your business. While they’re experiencing so many seasons of change, it may be hard for them to remember all the changes you’re implementing too. Instead, keep it simple and consistent.
This also rings true for your outreach. If you typically call clients once a month, send out a bi-weekly email, or blog bi-weekly, now is not the time to adjust the schedule.
In order to thrive in a recession, you need to stay present, available, and consistent when the world changes around them.
#11: Ask for testimonials
When you google a service, what’s your next step? Depending on how serious the purchase, it may be to read the testimonials. Do they have any? Are they credible? Any bad reviews? This is a common source people refer to before choosing who they work with.
It’s worthwhile to reach out to current and past clients to request a testimonial. The best thing you can do is make it as easy as possible for them. Need some tips on planning an excellent testimonial system? We’ve covered this in a past blog for you.
Steps to thrive in a recession: final thoughts
There is no need to sound the shut-down alarm with the word recession floating around. To thrive in a recession, the best thing you can do is listen to your clients’ needs. Also, do your research, stay consistent, and always have a plan for moving forward with the openness to pivot.
Are you struggling to find the time to work on the vision for your business? Are you bogged down in the day-to-day operations with no clarity about what to do with your business during a recession? At Leading Advisor, we’ve been coaching financial advisors by empowering them with consistent practice and more profit. Contact us to find out how you can thrive.