Here are 8 strategies to help clients,friends, and friends of friends who are laid off. (Photo:Shutterstock)

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It's an unfortunate fact of life: Some people lose their jobs.It's not their fault. The company announced layoffs or closedcompletely. One of the many things our government does is requiringan early warning system. This is also an opportunity for insuranceagents and financial advisors.

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Personally, I've always thought everyone in the business knowsabout Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notifications, aka WARNnotices. When I bring it up in training seminars, I'm alwayssurprised it's new information for many people.

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Back in 1988, Congress passed the Worker Adjustment and Retraining NotificationAct. As the link explains, companies with 100+ employees mustprovide 60 day notice of layoffs and plant closures, including thenumber of employees affected.

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This is public information, reported at the state level. Thedepartment title can vary a bit, but it's usually some variation ofyour state's Department of Labor.

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The easiest way to find these announcements is to do an Internetsearch using the words “Worker Adjustment Retraining NotificationWARN” along with your state name.

How to use the information

The report you view online is usually a very current list. It tells you the company name, address, number of employeesaffected, effective date, and the reason, which is usually layoffor closure.

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What next? You know many people who work at different places.Scan the WARN notices at least weekly. You might see a company namethat sounds familiar. One of your friends or clients worksthere.

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Call them up. You saw the layoff announcement online. Were theyaffected? Hopefully the answer is no because you don't want any ofyour friends to lose their jobs.

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You ask: “were any of your friends affected?” At thispoint, the answer might be yes. You might mention: “When you leavea company, there's a lot you need to know about moving yourretirement assets. I've helped other people. I might be able tohelp them too.” You now have an agent on the inside.

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Is this necessary? Do they really need my help? Doesn't thecompany provide a way to roll over those retirement assets to amainstream provider of these services? It makes sense,doesn't it?

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That might be true if the employees affected were leaving thefirm through normal retirement after years of faithful service, butthis isn't the case. After years of faithful service they are beinglaid off. They may feel they don't want to be following thecompany's instructions. They don't want their former employer toknow where the money is going. They want a relationship withsomeone outside their company, someone they chose.

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That's the connection your friend or client can make foryou.

Your friend was a casualty

Suppose the loss hit close to home. You've probably heardthe saying: “It's a recession when your neighbor loses hisjob. It's a depression when you lose your job.”

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Maybe your friend was directly affected. What now?

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Consider these eight strategies:

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1. Don't go after thoseretirement assets. There's plenty of time for that later.If you do, you come across as predatory and opportunistic.

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2. Learn aboutthem. You think you know what they do, but you reallydon't. You can't help unless you have all the details.

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3. Leverage your LinkedIncontacts. It's been said LinkedIn is most valuable whenyou are looking for your next job. The time has come. Suggest theylook through your 1st level contacts. Who is in the right industry?The right firm? You'll need to discuss how well you know them. Berealistic. In some cases you can put them together, in others theconnection is too casual.

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4. Informationalinterviews. You might have a friend in their industry.They may not be in a position to hire, but they know people. Ask ifthey would meet with your friend and give them some advice. Askyour friend who lost their job to call them to setup themeeting.

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5. Former employee alumnigroups. If they worked for a big firm, there's probably aformer employee and alumni group out there. Start looking at groupson LinkedIn. Suggest they do some online research too. If the groupis active, they probably have a website. Why make the effort?Because these alumni probably moved to other firms or started theirown businesses.

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6. College alumniassociation. Someone paid a fortune for their education.Like automobiles, there should be aftermarket service available. Ifthey attended a college specializing in their field, the alumnioffice should have placement resources available.

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7. Professionalassociations. If they are employed in a specific field,there's likely a professional association with a local chapter. Ifthey already belong, that's great. If not, they should joinand start networking.

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8. Keep in touch.It's easy to forget about people when they aren't part of yournormal routine. They feel the world has moved on and forgottenthem. It often happens to people who lost their spouses, too. Youare different – you keep in touch. Don't ask “Have you found ajob yet?” Lead off with other social questions. They willupdate you on their job hunt.

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Hopefully they find another job. The crisis haspassed. Now's the time to address that rollover situation. Asthey look back on the past several weeks and months, they realizedyou were alongside them, helping them without being intrusive. Youshould now have a client for life.

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Bryce Sanders is president of PerceptiveBusiness Solutions Inc. He provides HNW client acquisitiontraining for the financial services industry. His book,“Captivating the Wealthy Investor” can be found on Amazon.

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Bryce Sanders

Bryce Sanders, president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc., has provided training for the financial services industry on high-net-worth client acquisition since 2001. He trains financial professionals on how to identify prospects within the wealthiest 2%-5% of their market, where to meet and socialize with them, how to talk with wealthy people and develop personal relationships, and how to transform wealthy friends into clients. Bryce spent 14 years with a major financial services firm as a successful financial advisor, two years as a district sales manager and four years as a home office manager. He developed personal relationships within the HNW community through his past involvement as a Trustee of the James A. Michener Art Museum, Board of Associates for the Bucks County Chapter of the Fox Chase Cancer Center, Board of Trustees for Stevens Institute of Technology and as a church lector. Bryce has been published in American City Business Journals, Barrons, InsuranceNewsNet, BenefitsPro, The Register, MDRT Round the Table, MDRT Blog, accountingweb.com, Advisorpedia and Horsesmouth.com. In Canada, his articles have appeared in Wealth Professional. He is the author of the book “Captivating the Wealthy Investor.”