Unless you were already advising remotely, current events have forced a major shift in the way you run your practice. In a VERY recent survey of my online workshop attendees, 70% of my participants reported canceling ALL face-to-face meetings. (Flatten the curve! Wash your hands!)
But while some Advisors may rightly lament the loss of vital face-to-face contact, other Advisors see the opportunity to work with the circumstances and keep moving the practice forward.
I work with a lot of experienced Advisors, some of whom use technology a lot, and they report certain key ADVANTAGES to using online technology. With thanks to the many practitioners who contributed to these thoughts, here are five opportunities to turn online meetings into opportunity.
Opportunity: Stay face-to-face while others go to the phone
The greatest advantage to online meeting technology is the opportunity to maintain face-to-face communication. It’s also harder than just picking up the phone – everyone knows how to use the phone, and using WebEx, Skype, or your approved platform is harder.
But the visual connection is worth it, for a couple of reasons. First, most of us get most of our information through our eyes, with the ears playing a supporting role. (Also, seeing turns out to be a major part of eating!) Keeping that face-to-face channel open is vital to Client relationships right now.
If you’re trying to reassure Clients, and most of us are right now, looking each other in the eye is vital!
The second reason establishing face-to-face communication is worth it: You’re differentiating yourself from the phone calls your best clients are no doubt receiving from the Advisor down the street. Being the face they know in a sea of strange voices helps you insulate yourself from the competition.
I know many of you are thinking right now about Clients who can barely check their email, let alone connect face-to-face online. That leads us to your next opportunity…
Opportunity: Get Digital Natives involved
Tech-challenged Clients present a great opportunity to expand your relationships within families or firms. Who else in the house can get on the line to help you connect? Who else can you talk with to explain why you’re trying to connect online?
Advisors tell me getting tech-savvy help on the line equates to introducing yourself to potential beneficiaries, heirs, and stakeholders. Where appropriate, you may invite those folks to stay around for the discussion, both to make sure the tech works and to learn more.
Opportunity: Transform Client Events
Advisors report the biggest challenge with many client events is getting enough ROI to justify the expense. Dinners, drinks, golf, and events are expensive…and now they’re canceled.
Now is the time to get good at holding an effective online meeting. I’ve conducted online workshops and seminars with Clients for literally 20 years, and I LOVE the advantages online meetings create for engagement, interaction, and value.
Add the fact that you’ve pared your expenses down to marketing and communications, and you’ve dramatically increased your ROI from Client events. The trick is, you’ve got to deliver value. Fortunately, your wholesaler partners can help – now’s a good time to see what value they might bring through a webinar.
If you’re not great at using all the meeting tools your platform offers, it’s time to hone your EDGE.
Opportunity: Share more, faster
Have you ever had a Client who liked a strategy you offered and wanted to move some money to you…but then they didn’t have the right information with them. And so they went home, and maybe they found the information, but they don’t have a scanner and…now it’s two months later and the paperwork has not been completed. Most organizations have made it simple for Advisors to gather electronic signatures – it’s getting clients to locate and submit information that’s the lag.
How about this scenario instead? You’ve established video connectivity with a client at home. They go and locate the documents you need while you wait and/or multitask. Upon locating the document, they could show it to you. They could turn to the Digital Native at their side to help them scan and email the information. You follow with the electronic signature request, and they sign. Done.
Better and more sharing with Clients is generally good, which leads us to our final opportunity…
Opportunity: Get more intimate with Clients!
I’ve learned so much about Clients over the years by going into their homes…via technology. While some initially resist it, most people eventually come to enjoy the informality of the connection, and literally let their hair down. Especially these last few weeks, I’ve learned a ton about some of my Clients, because it’s the first time we’ve ever seen each other outside one of our offices.
I strongly recommend you take this opportunity to ditch the suit, set up in the kitchen, let the dogs bark, let the babies cry. It’s real-life right now. Communing with Clients face-to-face from our respective worlds has been a true source of joy in challenging times.
Stay safe, be smart, and continue to use the opportunities life gives you.
Dan Smaida is dedicated to training and coaching Advisors run the most valuable Client meetings. Dan’s running FREE workshops on Advanced Online Meeting Skills. Visit www.AdvisoryEDGEcom to register.