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Being the Trusted Advisor in a Natural Disaster

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As Hurricane Sandy bears down on the East Coast, people in the path of this storm are worrying, boarding up windows, sandbagging around basements and getting extra food, water, batteries and flashlights. Even the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq have been shut down.

The precautions that people are taking are many in the face of this storm.

But are they prepared for its aftermath, when the life and property damage has to be assessed?

Hopefully, there will be no fatalities or serious injuries when this is over. But for the property damage that is sure to happen, what role can a financial advisor play right now for his or her clients? Right now, sometimes the best thing to do is just call or email your clients to let them know you are are concerned and that you care.

When Hurricane Irene affected thousands last year, it was the advisors who checked on their elderly clients who built more trust; who created stronger bonds and lasting relationships. For one advisor team, it was a simple as sending a pizza over to one long-time client to make sure he had a little comfort food.

Are you calling your clients, especially the older ones to make sure they can ride out this storm? Are you telling them to get their home, car and boat insurance phone numbers and account numbers together just in case they have to make a claim?

In this industry, we speak so often about how to build trust with clients. Well, this is the kind of situation where you can make a difference. Showing concern during difficult times for clients can make an advisor stand out from all the others.

Sure, like the flight attendants instruct you before the plane takes off -- put on your oxygen mask first before you help someone else with his or her mask. Well, the same is going to be true in this type of natural disaster as well. Make sure you and your family are safe and prepared. But then, take the next step and contact your clients so they know you care.

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