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A (Free) Timely Letter to Send Your Clients
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
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The financial advisor’s equivalent of the real estate agent’s “location, location, location” mantra is “communication, communication, communication.” Given the events in the Middle East, you have a perfect opportunity to communicate with your clients, deepen your relationship with them and position yourself as a thought leader with the investing public through a timely, well-written update letter.

I’ll make it easy for you by writing a timely letter about the Middle East situation and giving it to you for free. But first, I want to walk you through the anatomy of an update letter so you can use the template for your future letters.

To begin, what’s the objective of the letter? In this case, the objective is to let your clients know that you are on top of the Middle East situation, that you’re monitoring how it may affect their portfolio and that you are a proactive, engaged advisor.

Once you know the objective, write a great title.

Michael Hyatt says, “Great titles are PINC (pronounced “pink”). They do at least one of the following: make a promise, create intrigue, identify a need, or simply state the content.”  

Here’s the title of your free letter: How the Three-Act Drama Unfolding in the Middle East May Affect Your Money

This title hits two of the four points; it creates intrigue (three-act drama, Middle East, my money—I want to know more) and identifies a need (I need to know how problems in the Middle East might affect my pocketbook).

After the title, you need a strong first paragraph to secure the reader’s attention.

After 30 years in power, it took only 18 days to topple Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. He capitulated to the demands of the protesters and resigned as President. The quick toppling has led to a domino effect and instability throughout the region. What does this mean for you and your money?

This paragraph sets the stage for what’s to come and ends with a question. The question essentially invites the reader to keep reading because they know you’ll answer the question by the end of the letter.

As we get to the middle of the letter, we need to tie in the three-act play, which I’m using as the “lens” to put the Middle East situation in context.

Since the glory days of ancient Greece, we’ve had the three-act play. You know how it goes. Act I sets the stage, introduces the characters and identifies the main problem. Act II is the most important act because the main problem becomes much more dangerous and difficult and the protagonist of the story looks like they will lose. Act II usually ends on an emotionally-charged cliffhanger so you’ll be compelled to come back from intermission. Act III pulls it all together and the story wraps up with the protagonist (usually) winning and everybody (usually) living happily ever after. Ah, if only real life was so neat and tidy!

 

Skipping ahead in the letter, I describe two potential outcomes.

While it’s too early to know the outcome of Act II or Act III, it may make sense to look at two potential extreme outcomes. These bookends give us a sense for a possible worst case and best case.

Extreme Outcome One

On the negative side, if the Middle East erupts into a fiery ball of flames, it could be a serious problem for the world. The Middle East can be a powder keg and with its strategic importance in the oil market, any disruption there could send the world economy into a tailspin. Multiple countries are experiencing unrest among their people so the call for reform in the region is strong and certainly not over yet.

Extreme Outcome Two

On the positive side, the changes occurring in the Middle East could usher in a new era of democratic reforms that lead to faster economic growth and rising stock prices. Remember the fall of Eastern Europe’s Soviet satellite states and the toppling of the Berlin Wall in 1989? The decade that followed was a strong one for worldwide economic growth and stock prices. If the fall of Eastern Europe is a blueprint, then there could be some rocky, but survivable times ahead followed by a long period of growth.

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