The Advisor Institute: Coach's Corner
Engaging the reluctant-to-engage

Practical messages intended to help you elevate the success of your practice.

The views expressed in these posts are those of the authors and are current only through the date stated. These views are subject to change at any time based upon market or other conditions, and Eaton Vance disclaims any responsibility to update such views. These views may not be relied upon as investment advice and, because investment decisions for Eaton Vance are based on many factors, may not be relied upon as an indication of trading intent on behalf of any Eaton Vance fund. The discussion herein is general in nature and is provided for informational purposes only. There is no guarantee as to its accuracy or completeness. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

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      By David RichmanNational Director, Eaton Vance Advisor Institute

      The coping styles of your clients deserve careful consideration - especially right now. In our book, "The Charismatic Advisor®," Dr. Robert Brooks and I discuss the challenge of nurturing resilience with clients who tend to "tune out" when markets turn volatile.

      In his clinical work, Dr. Brooks refers to this type of behavior as a protective shield. It is vital to engage these clients in conversation without attempting to remove their protective shield too abruptly. How? A good first step would be to contact each of these "reluctant-to-engage" clients to set up a longer time to chat.

      In our upcoming book, "Chasing PositivityTM," we drill more deeply into the approach you might deploy in your follow-up conversations:

      "I've worked with many clients during volatile financial times and I know that people react in very different ways. Some clients are so upset with the ups and downs of the market that they become glued to business shows on TV. Others get angry, sometimes with me or even themselves. Still others become very anxious and they don't know what to do, so they find temporary relief by totally ignoring what is going on in the markets."

      "I have found that whatever ways my clients react, my role is to review their portfolios and make recommendations that they might follow to place themselves in the most favorable position when, as always happens, the market begins to recover. That is what I would like to discuss with you. How does that sound?"

      Bottom line: Initiate dialogue with all your clients. Pay extra special attention to those who seem to withdraw during stressful times. They may not show it, but they do want to hear from you.