In his recent post in the Investment Times, Hartford Funds VP Ryan Sullivan shared some impactful recommendations for advisors struggling to serve clients in an economy fraught with turmoil. You know, like 2023, where inflation persists (though slowing) and recession may (or may not) be right around the corner?

The post, “When the going gets tough, the tough get EPIC,” encourages advisors to include four elements in their conversations and interactions with clients: Empathy, Perspective, Insights and Choices. We really liked where Sullivan was going with his strategy, which got us to thinking … What tools, tactics and resources can advisors use to truly optimize these four critical elements?

After all, InsurMark is an advisor development organization. We offer advisors a variety of tools and insights to elevate client conversations, improve client outcomes and grow their advisor businesses along the way. So how would our team coach our advisors to capitalize on Sullivan’s EPIC strategy? We would encourage advisors to:

Listen, acknowledge and provide value to show genuine EMPATHY

Sullivan cautions advisors not to generalize client concerns and brush them aside with a sweeping, “You have nothing to worry about.” Instead, he says advisor need to listen to client concerns and thank them for sharing, which helps build trust.

So how can you demonstrate you are legitimately empathetic and have the client’s “best interests” at heart? Along with acknowledging their concerns, you need to offer valuable insight that addresses their unique problems. As our friend high-performance business coach Stephanie Bogan shared in a recent Breakthrough Advisor podcast, “People don’t care about your solutions. They care about their problems.”

You can provide value during 1-on-1 conversations, which are critical, but you’ll be even more effective (and efficient) in the long-term when you also use automated, targeted marketing campaigns to provide valuable content that addresses the client’s specific pain points and goals. InsurMark’s Catalyst digital growth marketing platform makes it easy to keep in touch with prospects and clients via personalized campaigns (email, social media, digital ads) that provide value throughout the client lifecycle.

Provide PERSPECTIVE by using best-in-class INSIGHTS that resonate

We also think Sullivan is spot on when he says, “Providing historical perspective about past recessions can help show they’re generally short-lived and often followed by periods of sustained economic growth. When done well, this type of education can help emotionally insulate clients, so they aren’t as apt to make panicked decisions.”

As Sullivan wisely notes, in order for this strategy to be effective the insight the advisor provides should be delivered so it directly addresses the client’s burning question: “How does this all affect me?” Again, clients care about their problems and won’t give a hoot about your solutions unless they are tailored to address their specific needs.

So, how can you gather the best historical insights and package them to resonate with clients in today’s world? Rely on experts for direction! Think about it. Recessions come and go, and inflation will rise and fall, but we also need to be mindful of legislative, tax and regulatory changes in order to best serve clients. There’s a TON of information advisors need to learn and interpret before they can help clients understand how economic changes and volatility will affect them.

That’s why top advisor success programs rely on experts to deliver the “news” we all need to know and help shape that insight so clients find it useful in helping them make decisions about their finances. InsurMark has partnered with industry experts—like retirement and Social Security expert Mary Beth Franklin; Roger Ibbotson, PhD; Wade Pfau, PhD, CFA, RICP; Dr. Robert Shiller; Dr. Jeremy Siegel; Ed Slot, CPA; and others—so advisors have a direct link to the latest “news” and strategic approaches through our webinars, the Breakthrough Advisor podcast and Founder’s Club events.

Empower clients to make the right CHOICES for their unique goals

In his post, Sullivan says that advisors should help clients understand “they have the power to make more informed decisions.” Instead of telling clients what to do, advisors should share the different options available to them, so the client can make educated decisions regarding what approach makes the most sense for their future.

Once you’ve identified the client’s specific pain points (running out of money during retirement, for example), you can use an automated marketing platform like Catalyst to periodically send relevant content that empowers the client to make those informed decisions. Keep in mind, that content DOES need to address the client’s specific pain points. That’s why it’s critical to create targeted marketing campaigns, instead of dumping every retirement planning tool, informational video and webinar invite in their laps.

As one of the leading advisor success programs, InsurMark also offers a variety of wonderful tools to help advisors educate clients in meaningful ways, so it’s easier for them to make important decisions. For example, we recently launched Clara, the industry’s first human-centric annuity platform focused on client outcomes. Clara is so savvy, it truly simplifies conversations about lifetime income based on the client’s specific challenges and goals.

Another tool we encourage our advisors to use is the Social Security Plus app. This app goes way beyond telling clients they need to delay retirement. It allows advisors to illustrate trade-offs and filing scenarios in real time. The app is a terrific tool for helping clients understand their options, because it enables them to visualize how to optimize claiming strategies through asset management, annuities and life insurance. We often use the app along with the Longevity Blessing and Curse platform to help reframe conversations, so clients can look at longevity realistically and make decisions based on reality.

Are you weighing options for advisor success programs? We should talk!

If you are an ambitious annuity, wealth or life advisor who wants to break through, level up and achieve the success you’ve always dreamed of, let’s talk. Along with being a distributor of market leading annuity and life products, InsurMark offers the people, processes and technology you need to help grow your business, serve clients better and enjoy the life a successful business should bring. Contact us to learn more.