The financial industry has experienced much turmoil as COVID-19 continues to sweep through our nation. From working remotely and managing not only their office, but also hundreds of clients, to keeping an eye on their own personal health, advisors have had to rapidly adapt to a “new normal”. Even as advisors become more comfortable working remotely, technology and virtual client meetings pose their own unique challenges.
There is much uncertainty as to what the near and distant futures hold. Many clients are concerned with the market fluctuations, and it is important to listen for stress or contemplation in their voices. Some clients may be on the other end of the spectrum, and might see this as an optimal time to invest. It is important to listen to clients and gauge where on the risk spectrum they belong. Above all, especially during these challenging times, it is critical to maintain frequent contact with clients. Below are a few steps to help advisors adapt to the “New Normal”.
Step 1: Creating a Planned Approach
Advisors should plan their client outreach to ensure they are prioritizing their clients by the amount and type of communication they need. As with any such initiative, the objective of this outreach should align with an advisor’s overall business goal. Think about how clients will respond at the end of a virtual meeting or call, and how clients should feel after the interaction has ended. It could be important to group clients into segments. Think of the different segments that have been affected by COVID-19:
- the “Sandwich generations” - clients with vulnerable parents
- Older clients - clients who are more at risk and susceptible to the virus
- Clients with high-risk jobs – such as first responders or medical professionals
Step 2: Connecting Virtually
Once an advisor has defined overall business goals and segmented clients by factors such as those listed above, it is time to start setting up the calls or virtual meetings.
- Set a meeting cadence - book a couple afternoons each week to make client calls or host virtual meetings. For example, set aside Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, 4:00-5:00 pm to speak with clients and calendar these times so no other meetings can be booked.
- Networking opportunities - consider adding a networking aspect to these meetings by suggesting a three- or four-person virtual coffee meeting for clients and their friends.
Advisors should make these meetings meaningful to clients and outside connections by starting from a place of empathy, perhaps by asking about the client’s situation, hopes, fears, and pressing concerns. When utilizing video conferencing to replace face-to-face meetings, eye contact with the camera is crucial. These small details can help the client feel important and engaged.
Step 3: Following Up
While creating a business development plan, an advisor should also plan how best to follow up with clients.
- Direct follow up email – this should be sent within 24 hours after each phone call or virtual gathering to recap the meeting and highlight one or two points covered.
- Schedule another meeting with the client - advisors should ask the client during the meeting if they would like to have a check-in in a few weeks.
- Promote online activities – advisors should promote to clients any white papers or articles they’ve written or industry webinars in which they’ve participated..
Creating new business routines, finding work-life balance, and juggling the many changes brought on by this uncertain environment can feel like uphill battles. As we forge ahead with this “new normal”, be sure to connect with clients as much as possible and maintain meaningful relationships - albeit virtually.
To find out more information on this topic or how SFA Partners can help your business, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call at (888) 447-2444.