Crisis Management: Leveraging the Power of Storytelling

Jul 8, 2020 3 min read

We’re living in the midst of a global crisis. While coronavirus restrictions are slowly but surely being lifted to accommodate a new normal, uncertainty looms large and businesses must find new ways to conduct business as usual in the face of the unusual.

As an advisor, you know that even when the investment landscape is rocky, investors must continue to look to and plan for the future, but how can you inspire your clients to make rational decisions when they’re consumed by the chaos that is life in the time of COVID-19?

Make real connections.

Clients are rightly nervous, and making sense of their personal situations takes priority over their investments. Right now, they’re not looking to you for a play-by-play on the best stock of the day or even how their stocks are performing. They’re looking to you for hope. It’s your job to instill confidence — both in your expertise and in their long-term financial futures.

Many advisors we have spoken with are struggling to redirect their clients’ attention towards wealth planning in order to help them make effective decisions. Here’s what we’re telling these advisors: lead with empathy, not facts and stats.

It’s time to show your clients that you understand the challenges of their unique circumstances, and demonstrate how you’ve helped others recover from similar circumstances. Many clients find it hard to share bad news. When you connect their current experiences to the experiences of others, you help them realize that they’re not the only ones struggling to handle a changing environment. This leaves them more inclined to share their concerns with you, which in turn reduces stress and leaves them more open to refocusing on their longterm goals.

Storytelling allows you to establish yourself as a trusted advisor.

It positions you as an expert — one who is able to identify and manage whatever financial challenges arise. By creatively exploring the topics that most resonate with your clients during difficult times, you can help replace any sense of doom with peace of mind and break down the barriers that are preventing them from moving forward.

Tell stories that demonstrate how you can make their lives better.

Remember that while you may find market analysis fascinating, the only thing that interests your clients right now is navigating today’s hurdles so that they can acquire the means required to achieve their goals and stay on track in a volatile world. How can you speak to their interests versus your own?

What experiences can you share to show that the financial impact of poor health, unemployment and/or any other hurdles they’re facing are surmountable? What subject experts can you partner with to address their pain points? What stories can you tell to convey your approachability so that they know they can come to you not only when they have money to invest, but when they don’t?

Storytelling is a valuable marketing tactic.

Like all relationship development tactics, it needs to be managed strategically if it’s to be effective. With this in mind:

  • Prepare before you share. It’s important to ensure you’re conveying the right story to the right people at the right time. Review your clients’ history and goals, and look at how they have dealt with previous crises to ensure your message is on mark for their situation.

  • Keep your objective in mind. You’re not telling stories for the sake of it. You’re telling stories to inspire trust and promote a dialogue. When your clients respond, listen so that you, in turn, can respond in alignment with their perspective.

  • Make sure you have sufficient resources and infrastructures in place, especially when face-to-face meetings are discouraged, or when clients simply don’t have time to talk directly. Social media, email marketing, corporate videos, and teleconferencing are all great alternatives for extending your message and connecting through stories, especially during this time. Invest in them as wisely as you would in any other marketing channel and you will see a return on your investment.

  • Remember, empathy is key. Follow up with authenticity, not attachment to the outcome. Clients will see right through the latter, especially during times of crisis.

Out of adversity comes opportunity.

Seize this opportunity to differentiate yourself from your competitors, establish trust and confidence, and build personal relationships that will serve you and your clients well for the long-term.

Success stories


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President & CEO @ Origin Wealth