Beverly Flaxington is a practice management consultant. She answers questions from advisors facing human resource issues. To submit yours, email us here.

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Dear Bev,

It is tough right now to gauge client’s reactions. One call I made last week was answered by a client in tears because her father had just passed from COVID-19. She was unable to speak with me. In another case, a client’s wife was a doctor and was waiting for a test to find out if she was negative for the virus.

I know I need to be reaching out and contacting clients. But I feel like a sleazy salesperson calling them when I’m not sure whether, or how, the current situation is affecting them. I know what is happening with their portfolio, but I don’t know their personal experiences. After making just those calls, I found myself unable to pick up the phone for the rest of the week.

I have been receiving calls from clients. But none of my clients are really worried. I’ve been doing this a long, long time and a good percentage of them were with me through 2008 and they have done quite well. There isn’t the same level of anxiety in my client base, so I don’t know if making these calls is useful.

Am I being unreasonable?

E.G.

Dear E.G.,

Why would you consider your natural and human reaction “unreasonable”? Maybe you feel ill-equip to deal with the surprise of calling someone you know and who knows you and learning they are dealing with devastating news. You might feel unprepared and unable to cope effectively.

But I wouldn’t call it unreasonable!