Digging Deep in Difficult Times
Wed Oct 28 2020
Message from Brokers Ireland President, Ciaran Blackall
I hope that you are all keeping well and safe during this time. The latest round of Level 5 Covid-19 restrictions has caused additional hardship and disruption to society and our businesses. In what has already been a really difficult and challenging year for most Brokers, we now find ourselves back in lockdown, which is causing considerable disturbance to our operations. Lockdown changes how we deal with our clients, how we maintain relationships and how we generate new opportunities.
It is currently estimated that 2.6 billion people, one-third of the world’s population, are living under some lockdown or quarantine. For many, the reality is that lockdown makes an already tough situation even more difficult: the psychological and emotional toll is enormous. Being stuck indoors, worrying about business interests, being anxious for your family – are all hugely stressful, particularly when trying to keep momentum going in your business.
All of us should take comfort from the fact that what we are experiencing is ‘the norm’ and it is important that we try to remain optimistic and to keep this new reality in perspective. In situations of uncertainty, we can only second guess what might happen, because we lack the experience to gauge the most likely outcome. Learning to work within these parameters needs perseverance, particularly in a relationship-driven industry, which requires that Brokers remain visible and engaged with their clients. This period will create many new risks for Brokers and bring into focus core responsibilities to our clients.
In learning to live and lead your business through this crisis, my advice to all of you is to keep your routine, communicate regularly with all your clients, embrace new technologies, try to think innovatively and maintain perspective. Crises can lead to innovations and positive changes, use the time to think creatively and stop asking yourself “why” and ask instead “why not?” Alongside this, focus on one positive thing every day while trying not to succumb to the barrage of negativity.
At times like these we all need to dig deep. Most of us can remember the financial crash of 2008-2010; it was a time that called for hard work, perseverance, application to the task in hand and a commitment to staying on top of cashflow and casework. Whilst this period is different and poses a different set of challenges, we still need to look at how we do business and adapt accordingly. Here are some convenient tools that I have found easy to use and manage in my day to day business:
- Zoom – a free way of having a face to face call with clients
- Adobe Pro –editing PDFs or sending PDF client reports
- Docusign – allows clients to complete application forms and sign up digitally
- Constant Contact – for client mailshots, with open and click rates
- Voyant or Cashcalc – a handy way of illustrating the impact of adjusting clients’ income
If I had been told at the start of this year, that I would be onboarding new clients without ever meeting them, I would have been very sceptical, but that is what is now required in these strange times. I’d also encourage you to take full advantage of what you can do within the Government guidelines. I recently met a solicitor for a sandwich in St Stephen’s Green who introduced new business to me. Under level 5 “It is possible to meet with 1 other household in an outdoor setting which is not a home or garden, such as a park, including for exercise”. Over the weekend, we met one other family for a picnic and campfire on a beach close to where I live. it’s simply a case of searching out the opportunities that do exist, rather than dwelling on the ones that don’t.
Brokers Ireland is also working hard on your behalf and is firmly committed to helping members through these challenges. We will continue to provide updates, guidance, webinars and educational support as needed. As a Broker-centric organisation, we are determined to face the forthcoming period with positivity, despite the difficult challenges our members face. As we all struggle to find ways to cope and deal with this evolving situation, Brokers Ireland are here to help and support members in whatever way possible, for a long as required.
We will get through this together.
Stay safe and thank you.
President, Brokers Ireland