The markets are gyrating. We’re dizzy & confused. So are your clients. Below are behavioral psychology tips for keeping clients calm:
1) First, Calm Yourself: Up to 90% of communication is non-verbal. Clients will notice any anxiety you feel. Watch your speed of talking, breathing & pitch of voice. Rapid speech, quick & shallow breathing and a change in pitch signals anxiety, no matter what your words are saying. Get your Zen on – before talking to any clients.
2) Listen for Emotions: Rationality is suppressed when emotions are high. Listen for the underlying emotions (likely fear and/or anger). Ultimately, you’re talking to the emotion that’s driving everything else. Remember that anger is often a cover for feeling vulnerable or fearful. Don’t get triggered by anger.
3) Acknowledge: Make sure to acknowledge (verbally reflect a summary of what you hear). Do NOT agree with anything irrational or false. You can acknowledge emotional concerns without acknowledging false assumptions. Until people feel heard, they will keep repeating and may escalate emotionally.
4) Normalize: Normalizing an experience is a powerful psychological tool. Share your knowledge of history and market fluctuations. Honestly and factually put things into a bigger perspective. Normalize the experience and the feelings.
5) Show Your Value: This is exactly your value. This is the moment you show why clients need a human professional (not a robo-advisor). Doctors don’t diagnose or treat themselves. They can’t be objective. For the very same reason, it’s a bad idea for investors to diagnose and treat their own investments. While attending to their feelings, show them the way forward.
6) Be Prepared to Repeat: Stress makes humans stupid (medical fact) and strong emotions will repeatedly trigger anxiety. Be ready to repeat the calming process more than once per client. You’ll be much less frustrated when you expect to repeat. Remember the panic driven media plays 24/7. Clients may need several rounds of calming tonic. Remember, that’s your value!
PS: Get support to maintain your own calm. That’s the value of your Coach!