Atlanta: “I wasn’t in the business during the last downturn, but I get your point about this being a big opportunity for me. What should I focus my efforts on right now?” Tony asked us at a recent workshop.

Crisis breeds opportunity in the financial services industry, especially for new advisors. Many veterans have been hunkered down in their offices, taking incoming calls from clients, not being proactive in their client contact. Their clients are now becoming prospects for advisors who are dialed-in.

Our research has shown that 85% of the affluent would consider changing advisors, but they’re not going to make a lateral move; replace one ‘so-so’ advisor with another. This would be like trading a 2001 car with 100,000 miles for another with similar age and mileage. As a society, if we’re going to suffer the process of change, the end result must be worth the effort.

Hence, to take away clients from other advisors, you’ve got to be a clearly superior alternative. Remember, whether you’ve been in the business 25 weeks or 25 years, you are the product. How you carry yourself, how you communicate – your positioning is critical. The following are 7 New Advisor “Musts” for Thriving in Crisis. These are great for deepening relationships, initiating new relationships, and finding new business in a time when many of your competitors are missing the mark.

1) Get Face-to-Face
The affluent prefer face to face contact over every other communication medium (phone, email…text isn’t even in the running). Not to mention, getting face-to-face creates sales opportunities. With existing clients you can find up-sell opportunities and uncover the family members and friends that might want a 2nd opinion. With referral alliance partners and affluent COIs you’ll …

2) Place Yourself in the Right Situations
Rarely do you bump into prospects in your office. (If this happens, let us know. We know plenty of advisors that would pay you good rent.) But when you’re out in public, you’re seeing people, having conversations, and in this environment, you’re likely to be having some “how’s business?” and “what do you think about the markets?” types of conversations. In today’s environment, almost every conversation can serve as a segue into offering a 2nd opinion.

3) Craft Your Message
Too many advisors reflect back on situations and think about what they “should have said.” Elite advisors carefully craft their message in advance. Whether it’s the recovery strategy you’re discussing with clients, or grabbing control of a social conversation that started with a remark about the markets and ends with you mentioning the importance of having a risk-audit. The secret is to anticipate the conversations, craft your game plan and execute ‘in the moment’ with a calm confidence.

4) Be more Assertive than Usual
In times of crisis, people need and want guidance. For that reason, many advisors have benefited from adding 10% more assertiveness when talking to prospects. Instead of saying “it might be a good idea for us to meet”, they might say, “this is no time for hesitation, we need to get together for coffee this week and talk about your recovery strategy.”

5) Get Face-to-Face with COIs
You might be doing a great job guiding your clients, but many of your competitors are not. All the more reason to get in front of CPAs and attorneys in your area. Explain to them some of the “red flags” they can be looking for when meeting with clients. (overly concerned, poorly suited investments, etc.) You’re more than willing to a “risk-audit” (2nd opinion) on their portfolios.

6) Challenge Yourself but Remain Balanced
One hour spent prospecting in this environment is the equivalent of three hours of prospecting when things were calm. This makes it very tempting to over-do-it; obsessing over work to the detriment of your family, social and personal health. It’s not worth it in the long run. You’re not doing clients or family any favors if you’re “burning the candle at both ends”. We’d recommend planning your week in advance and including time for family, friends and exercise.

7) Get Social with Clients and Referral Partners
The Oechsli Institute’s research shows that clients who report having a social/business relationship with their advisor provide three times the number of referrals of those who have a business-only relationship. The same hold true for CPAs, JDs, and other referral partners. The idea is to get personal. This can come in the form of a ballgame, backyard cookout, dinner as couples, and so on. You’re not looking for new best friends, just the opportunity to get to know them on a personal level.

The game plan, as with most of our recommendations, is simple and activity driven, but not easy. There is no better time than now to be in front of clients, prospects, COIs and wealthy social contacts. As Matt Oechsli has said many times, the next 12-24 months will define the next ten years of your career. Let’s make the most of it!

For more information about The Oechsli Institute visit http://www.Oechsli.com.