Years ago, when business was transactional, advisors called clients all the time. There was the “are they looking for a trade” suspicion in the background, but many clients knew they were getting attention. In today’s world of asset based pricing, calling isn’t directly related to ringing the cash register. Now the pendulum has swung in the other direction.
Here are fourteen reasons to pick up the phone and call a client.
- An idea worked out. You made a suggestion. The stock moved in the direction you hoped. Your client has made money. It’s tempting to say “That was my idea.” It’s better to thank them for following your suggestion. You might have another one.
- The firm employing them just posted earnings. Your analysts likely have poured over the numbers. People employed at a firm generally like to hear how outsiders think they are doing. You concisely hit the high points of the analysis.
- Their firm was in the news. You call them first thing in the morning or seconds after the news comes across the screen. In the first example, they know you are at your desk early. In the second one you might have gotten the word to them before their own people got the word out. When their people tell them the news, they might explain their financial advisor was on top of it before them!
- Scheduling a periodic portfolio review. These are like report cards. You might get some blame when things don’t work out, so it’s a good idea to schedule regular reviews and show you are paying attention to their holdings. It’s also an opportunity to introduce new ideas.
- Rebalancing the portfolio. This might be done during the periodic reviews, but there’s no need to wait if things have gotten seriously out of balance in the meantime. They might have moved in some extra cash and not mentioned it.
- Putting money to work. A bond is coming due. Maybe it came due. There’s more money on the cash side than usual. You call with ideas.
- You have a great idea. Unlike the previous example, there’s no spare cash lying around. You are enthusiastic about this idea, but you also like everything they already own. This idea, that the client is now also excited about, requires fresh money.
- They unknowingly are on margin. They take cash advances or use their debit card often. Their cash cushion is gone. They are now borrowing against their securities. This might not be a big deal to them, but you want to let them know they are incurring a cost.
- You’ve seen unusual activity. They just took some large cash advances or wrote some big checks. They can spend their money as they choose, but you want to confirm it’s a legitimate transaction. They know you are paying attention.
- Retirement plan contributions. Logically, they want their money in a tax deferred environment as long as possible. If they haven’t made their annual contributions, you suggest it.
- Mandatory retirement plan withdrawals. They are at the age when it’s necessary. If they don’t make them in a timely manner, penalties are involved. You are letting them know you are paying attention.
- News about their favorite stock. They’ve traded it for years. You saw a story come across the screen. You call and relay the news. They might take action. They will appreciate you are paying attention.
- A bond is maturing. This is a conversation you have ahead of time. You discuss how best to reinvest the proceeds. Perhaps they can add more money and round up.
- Their bonus is due shortly. You want to see them making more progress towards their retirement goals. The more they put to work, the closer their retirement date should be. Let them know you have ideas in mind.
Everyone wants to feel they are an important client. Paying attention gets that message across. It also gives you logical reasons to call.