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Humanity can survive anything. We’ve seen our economy sink and soar, our communities fight against disease, and despite the circumstances, find hope to carry on—not only carry on but thrive enough to build the world as we experience it today. Our families experienced The Great Depression, and you may have witnessed firsthand the impact of the 2008 financial crisis. While you may be experiencing the full effect of the fear-based language around an unavoidable recession from the news or family and friends, you know you’ll make it through.

It’s how you respond to the next few months—and possibly a few years—that will set you up to thrive, barely survive, or even shut the doors of your business. The good news is that you can choose a course of action that will reap results.

A recession can be a disappointing hurdle. This wasn’t part of your 5-year plan, and now you have to pivot to make the best of it. That’s okay. Pivoting is a far better option than falling into a disconnect with your clients and eventually giving up—not necessarily giving up on your business entirely, but on the parts that matter. A recession doesn’t mean you need to halt all of your marketing plans and act as if you’re in shutdown mode. Instead, you may just need to be a little more creative and a lot more empathetic.

Here’s how you can stay motivated and take action during a recession, even when it seems as if everyone is standing still.

Carry on confidently.

As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, humanity has been through a lot. However, better times were always ahead. A financial crisis can bring a lot of fear to your clients and community. How do you think they'll react when their advisor also seems to be in crisis?

Take hope in your opportunity to pivot and focus on the meaningful connections you have with your clients. This is when they’ll need you the most to guide them through all the misinformation.

Revisit your vision.

When the world and everyone in it put their needs, wants, and fears front and center, it can be easy to get distracted. During a state of panic, it’s important to remember your direction, tweak the plan if necessary, and carry on. 

What were your vision and goals before the economy shifted? Are any of them irrelevant now? You should physically write down your vision and goals somewhere you can visit every morning. Review them and plan out your day to ensure that you’re taking steps in the right direction. That way, it’s much easier to make decisions aligned with where you’re headed and how you want to help your clients. 

Find the right people to help. 

Some people will resonate with how you do business, and some won’t. Neither is wrong. You just need to focus on the people you can, and like, helping. If you’ve lost sight of your ideal client, you can perform an exercise to help you understand what to look for. 

Write down everything about your ideal client—even the kind of job they might have, hobbies, and habits. Start to ask yourself where they would be during a recession and what types of questions they might have. From there, you can position yourself as someone who can help by getting the right content to the right people at the right time. 

This could look like visiting a retirement home to give a talk on financial scams to be aware of or hanging up a QR code in a local coffee shop with great wi-fi that shares your pre-recorded webinar link on how to understand taxes as a solo entrepreneur. Think about where your ideal client would be and the information that would be helpful for them. 

Protect your mindset. 

When scarcity is on everyone’s radar, it’s crucial to protect your mindset and live in a place of abundance. This might mean turning off the news, turning on Spotify instead of the radio on your commute, and muting controversial social media profiles. 

How you approach the market will make an impact on your clients' perspectives. Are you coming from a place of danger or of opportunity? While your first instinct may be to have a ‘duck and cover’ mentality, putting yourself out in the community as a voice of positivity and hope is not only better for your business, but their mindset too. 

Measure your impact. 

During a recession, it’s important to focus on where your money is going and what it’s doing when it gets there. This is about measuring your impact and the tools you’re using to create an impact. In some cases, time has a better impact than money ever could. 

Your typical marketing tactics may not be as relevant today as they used to be. It’s essential to take stock of where you’re spending your money and if there would be a better way to allocate it. For example, a billboard payment might be better spent investing in a new program that can make an everyday task more efficient for you, freeing up time you can spend meeting with clients or building a webinar library. 

Make things ridiculously simple for your clients. 

During a recession, people may be operating in a different emotional state than usual. Some are more short-fused or have less patience since they’ve been dealing with hurdle after hurdle. To start with a great impression each time, you should do an audit of how simple you make things for clients. 

Are you playing a game of phone tag to book an appointment or answer an urgent question? Maybe it’s time to install a Calendly link into your email signature so they can schedule a quick call, or find a slot for a lengthier in-person meeting. If you find ways to make it easy for clients to rely on you, you’ll build loyalty by giving them the confidence you’ll always be there.

Be human.

During a time of uncertainty, we all need a little more empathy in our lives. You’re not just someone’s financial advisor. You’re someone they depend on that will help them navigate the unknown and keep their financial security as your top priority. 

Don’t be afraid to speak candidly and connect with your clients about what’s happening. Let them open up to you about their fears so that you can help put them at ease and allow them to make confident decisions. 

The unknown is a scary place to sit in, but it’s also a place full of opportunity. Don’t let fear get in the way of the value you can bring to your clients and your community.

Simon Reilly is a consultant, speaker, and author with Leading Advisor and a contributing columnist for Advisor Today.

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