11 Ways to Build Mental Resilience For Financial Advisors In the Face of COVID-19

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What a week it’s been, friends.

Markets are crashing and uncertainty is heavy in the air.

The crashes of 1987, 1990, 2000, and 2008 have prepared us well for this moment, but the circumstances are incredibly unique.

Unique doesn’t even feel like an adequate word to describe what we’re going through.

We’re living in the middle of a momentous event of the likes that we’ve never experienced in our lifetimes. And while physical health and well-being are certainly acute concerns, this COVID-19 crisis has been just as damaging to the collective American mindset.

It’s revealed, exposed, and sensationalized the way people think.

People are scared. They’re confused. They’re frustrated.

But you have to be different. You can’t let these emotions grab hold of you and choke the life out of your business.

I recently hosted a webinar with advisors on this very topic. I ran a quick, unofficial poll in the comments section and asked the advisors in attendance to tell me if they see the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity OR something that will destroy their business.

Nearly 100% of advisors said they see this as an opportunity.

But I’m here to tell you this isn’t just an opportunity. It’s a colossal opportunity – one like we’ve never seen before in this industry.

A seismic shift is occurring in the marketplace and in our industry. And, believe it or not, your success starts with cultivating the proper mindset, which will ultimately catalyze your messaging and jumpstart client growth and retention for years to come.

Let’s dig in.

The Relationship Between Mindset and Messaging

What do you see when you open up Facebook or Twitter?

What kind of content are people sharing on YouTube and Instagram?

What do the news headlines say?

I’ll tell you what I see: An utter lack of hope.

There’s no gratitude or optimism. It’s doom and gloom.

After all, this is what the news media thrives on. When they startle people and get a rise out of the public, their ratings go up. They want people to be scared, confused, and frustrated.

Good news doesn’t sell – bad news does.

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So as financial leaders and advisors, we have to be careful and calculated.

Right after health, money is the number one thing Americans are thinking about right now.

They need guidance and hope – someone who listens and cares. But they aren’t getting it from their Facebook friends or favorite news websites. And, unfortunately, very few are getting it from the financial leaders in their lives.

There are so many advisors right now who are scared and trepid. You can’t be one of them.

You have the privilege to shift minds, but you can’t do it if your own mind is in a low place. You have to cultivate a positive mindset – one that’s both optimistic and opportunistic – so that you can add value to those around you.

Cultivating Mental Resilience

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If you’ve been reading the Advisorist blog for very long, you know that I like to provide super actionable tips and techniques. So let’s get really practical for a moment.

Here are three tangible ways you can nurture your own mental resilience to become a force for good in a world that’s desperate for hope:

1.     Move Your Body

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Start moving your body.

This is something that I teach my whole team. It’s something that I do daily.

If you don’t exercise on a regular basis, there’s no better time than now to get started.

In my business, we like to say that every hour of mental energy expended generates one unit of negative energy in your mind.

In other words, for every hour you’re sitting at your desk doing mental work – crunching numbers, calling clients, etc. – you’re generating negative energy that needs to be released. And the fastest way to release it is with two minutes of heart rate-increasing exercise.

Gyms might be closed down, but you don’t need any fancy ellipticals or weight machines. The goal is to get all of the dopamine, endorphins, oxytocin, and serotonin firing on all cylinders.

You can do this with pushups, jumping jacks, body-weight squats, or running a few flights of stairs.

2.     Start a Gratitude Journal

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The second thing I want to encourage you to do is to start a gratitude journal.

There’s ample research to suggest that people with high degrees of gratitude have a greater capacity for solving problems.

And guess what you’re in the business of doing full-time right now?

Yep – you’re solving problems.

The more problems you can solve – and the harder the problems are that you can solve – the better you’re going to do in life.

This is why I recommend taking the time to write down three things you’re grateful for every single day.

Try to get specific, but don’t worry about being profound.

It could be something as simple as a delicious bagel for breakfast, or as meaningful as health, family, or God.

3.     Ask Somebody This Question

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The final thing I want you to do is to ask someone how they’re really doing.

Think back to someone you haven’t talked to in years. It could be a family member, an old boss, a past client, or a former neighbor that you haven’t heard from in a decade.

Shoot out a text. Make a phone call. Send an email. Write a letter.

This is the best time in the world to ask somebody how they’re really doing.

This is the great equalizer in our life. It gives you a chance to reach out, check in, reconnect, laugh, cry, or reminiscence.

Not everyone will respond, but some will. You’ll be amazed at what happens.

Power Messaging for Max Results

Some of you are thinking this all sounds a little hokey or new agey, but don’t be so quick to disregard these techniques.

Yes, you probably clicked on this article because you want to know more about how you can shape your messaging to continue growing your business. But don’t you think you’re going to show up in a much more powerful way once you’ve mastered your own mindset?

If you’re more depressed and pessimistic than the people you’re calling, advising, and interacting with, you have no shot at succeeding with any of the messaging tactics we’re about to lay out.

It all starts with you.

Once you develop the proper mental resilience, your hope and optimism will naturally permeate your messaging and magnetize your audience.

That’s not a theory – that’s a fact.

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So without any further delay, let’s jump right in and provide some helpful pointers and ideas for how you can shape your messaging for this unique and momentous moment:

1.     Be Available

The number one thing you can do is be available.

A lot of people out there aren’t hearing from their advisors right now. (Either they aren’t working with one – only 1% of Americans use a financial advisor – or their advisor has gone dark.)

Americans need someone to talk to about their money. They’re looking for guidance, expertise, comfort, and hope.

2.     Be a Voice of Reason

It’s okay to acknowledge the emotions that people are feeling, but they’re looking for a voice of reason.

You can be that voice.

It could be as simple as saying something like, “Hey, it’s not great right now, but it’s going to be okay. We’re going to get through this together. Prices have been inflated for months now and the smart money is buying. Holding is a fine strategy, too. Let’s just make sure we aren’t making rash decisions to sell.”

3.     Seize Attention Spans

There’s something new on sale. And, no, unfortunately it’s not toilet paper.

Attention spans are on sale.

People are at home with nothing to do. They’re bored and hungry for information.

You have the ability to tap into so much of people’s attention right now.

All of the rules that we used to have about when to host webinars or what time of day to share content on social media – they’ve gone out the window.

You need to be adding value at this very moment. Seize this chance and make yourself available.

4.     Be Natural

The new normal is just remembering that you are a human and that everyone you’re interacting with is human, too. That sounds obvious, but it’s something that’s sort of gotten lost in business over the last decade.

Make sure you’re natural in your approach.

Ask yourself, “What does this person need, and how am I helping them?”

Online conversations should be short and conversational. Information is your currency, but the real difference is in how you simplify the complex.

5.     Leverage LinkedIn

There’s a huge opportunity on LinkedIn right now.

Prior to the Coronavirus crisis, the average user was spending 17 minutes per month on the site. And while the new stats haven’t come out yet, I can only imagine that this number has doubled or even tripled.

When people want financial news and help, they don’t go to Facebook or Instagram – they go to LinkedIn. You need to meet them there.

We’re having a lot of success right now with LinkedIn messaging. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask people if they need help. You might be surprised by how many follow up.

6.     Don’t Be Tone Deaf

You have to be very careful in your messaging. You need to acknowledge what’s happening, but you also have to be sensitive to the moment. You can’t seem out of touch.

All of the sales and marketing tactics that were working six weeks ago are no longer effective.

Now’s not the time to sell. This is a chance to add value. (The sales and clients will come on the back end of this. Right now, you’re positioning yourself to reap the rewards six months down the road.)

The worst thing you can do is act like nothing is happening.

Saying nothing is going to be way worse than anything you would say with good intentions.

Nix any marketing and advertising initiatives that haven’t first been filtered through a COIVD-19 context. Regroup and re-contextualize in a way that embraces the current situation.

7.     Double-Down

Facebook ads are heavily discounted right now. It’s like a massive clearance sale.

You can get leads now at 10% of what you were able to get them for in January.

The guys who know how to market are doubling down this week. That’s what the smart advisors are doing.

You have to be strategic and tasteful – not pushy and salesy – but it’s important to note that this opportunity exists.

8.     Give, Give, Give

At the end of the day, now’s a time to give to others.

Don’t worry about what you’re getting in return – the results will naturally follow in the months to come.

Give help, advice, content. Give it all away for free!

The people who give away the most are the ones who have the most success in life – both in their personal lives and their financial lives.

Unbridled generosity is the prescription we all need. Don’t be part of the problem. Be part of the solution!

Go Out and Make a Difference

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It’s a strange time to be alive.

Yet despite the pervasive negativity and the collective pessimism in our society, there’s still plenty of opportunity – especially for financial advisors.

In almost every state, financial advisors have been labeled essential businesses – alongside supermarkets, banks, hospitals, utility companies, public transportation, and military operations.

Yes, you are essential.

So lean into these difficult times and practice love and gratitude.

People need you and appreciate you.

Go out there and make a difference!

Jeremiah Desmarais

Jeremiah Desmarais

Jeremiah is the founder and CEO of Advisorist® and is a 23-time award winning financial marketer, a TED speaker and philanthropist. He’s been featured on Forbes, CNN, and Worth. His work has generated over $2 million insurance leads and helped advisors in over 51 countries generate over $300 million in sales commissions. He is the author of the best selling book, SHIFT.

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