By Emma Fuller of

The fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic has been ruthless and indiscriminate. Not a day goes by that I don’t learn of business closures and job losses, some of which are very close to home.

The financial services industry has not been spared, and many businesses in this sector are having to undergo extensive cost-cutting exercises in order to avoid either having to retrench staff members or indeed cease trading altogether.

While the majority of businesses in our industry receive their income on an annuity basis (something that offers a degree of protection during times like these), we too have been affected to the point where, should we not adopt proactive and decisive measures, the longevity of our business may be under serious threat.

So, what can and should the principals of financial services providers do to give their practice the best chance of survival? I recently attended an online forum hosted by innovation and brand development guru, Ingrid Budge – Managing Director of Metamorphosis. She shared some ideas which we could all use for our businesses. Although we at Cooke Fuller Wealth Management have already implemented some of them, we have found that revisiting and examining them has been extremely beneficial. Ingrid’s more relevant ideas include the following:

  • Communication is key. Make sure you are top of mind by being present during this difficult time. A weekly or bi-monthly communication to our clients has assisted greatly with appeasing nervous clients.
  • Differentiate your value proposition – identify what makes you stand out and/or what makes you special. We’re a family business. As such, there’s an excellent probability that our clients will be dealing with the same relationship manager/s for the foreseeable future.
  • Conduct research amongst your clients – ask them to complete a survey or contact them to establish how you could better serve their needs during this trying time.
  • Have a clear strategy – redefine your business strategy. Make sure it’s current and relevant.
  • Build a brand -understand the relationship between your brand and your customer. Cooke Fuller’s payoff line “We look after you” goes a long way to convey to our clients that we’re providers of financial advice, and not the sellers of financial services products.
  • Establish core values and communicate them to your clients. Use them as a tool to establish trust and, hopefully, a successful long term relationship.
  • More than ever, pay attention to your client’s needs. Often, when the chips are down and there’s no ‘quick fix,’ simply being there to listen is highly appreciated.
  • Future proof your business – embrace and adapt the technology that has come to the fore over the past few months. Use Social Media to drive customers to your web page and to communicate your brand.
  • Give back and be grateful. Join the Covid-19 response and assist those less fortunate. And, be sure to thank loyal clients who, in the same way that you’ve supported others, have continued to support you.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. I wish you all well and hope that, by taking on board some of Ingrid’s ideas, you strengthen your business’s ability to survive these unprecedented times.