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By David RichmanManaging Director, Advisor Institute

Your clients likely have varying coping styles that especially manifest during turbulent markets. At the risk of over-simplification, there are three classic coping styles—the dragon, the owl and the ostrich. No matter how vigilant you have been in preparing your clients, their coping styles are likely to surface when market volatility spikes.

  • Dragons demand your attention
  • Owls crave collaboration
  • Ostriches tend to withdraw

While you may rationalize:

 "Some of my clients trust me completely to look out for them and are doing their best to ignore what is happening, they aren't even opening their statements! Why don't I just let sleeping dogs (ostriches) lie?"

Despite their tendency to withdraw, these clients actually want to hear your reassuring voice during challenging times. "Letting them lie" might turn ostriches into dragons if they feel neglected by you.

How might you approach such conversations? Consider making the below statement your own.

"Our team understands that our clients react to volatile financial times in very different ways. Some clients are so upset with the ups and downs of the market that they become glued to business shows on TV. Others get angry, sometimes with me or even themselves. Still others become very anxious and don't know what to do, so they find temporary relief by ignoring what is happening in the markets."

"In volatile times, our role is to review clients' portfolios and make recommendations that might place our clients in the most favorable position when the market begins to recover. Are you open to discussing our recommendations for you?"

Bottom line: No matter their coping styles, clients crave hearing from you in good and bad market environments. Be a source of strength, not a silent partner.