Regardless of industry, a company or firm’s success amid a crisis can be “characterized (by their) high degree of innovation and flexibility in terms of technologies deployed, skills leveraged, processes applied, and the range of products and services provided.” According to Harvard Business Review, the government-imposed lockdown on the City of Wuhan gave way to opportunities for businesses to rise to the challenge of providing the highest quality service despite the novelty and complexity of the situation. Those who thrived are seeing success post-lockdown. For wealth management firms to best service and advise their clients, as well as win new clients, applying HBR’s notes on innovation and flexibility, will mark the difference between run-of-the-mill and elite financial practices.
Increased tech adoption will result in the normalization of trends including remote working, teleconferencing, online education, virtual consultations, cashless payments, and digital file-sharing. Just as e-commerce giants battled the Wuhan Crisis with the use of innovation and technology, financial advisors can use the virtual environment innovatively to both improve client services and prospect new business.
How To: Maintain Your Client Relationships
1. Be Proactive
Zoe Network Advisors excel at being a trusted resource among their clients. Tough times are the best moment to pick up the phone. Deploying a “tech tool” as old as time seems like a no brainer, but the best way to communicate with your client is simply to reach out to them. An effective phone call gets you and your client away from extended email chains and avoids potential objections.
2. Set a Plan
Just like everyone else, your client’s needs have likely shifted a bit. Adjust accordingly. Be candid in your desire to work in a way that is most convenient for them. Ask them what kind of touchpoint and structure they prefer.
3. Be Flexible
Have all of your virtual service/tech stack “ducks in a row” so you are prepared to provide the type of communication your client is looking for. If your client prefers texts or emails and dreads getting on a Zoom video call, don’t force them to interact with you on the platform that’s most convenient for you. Accommodate your client using the communication channel that works best for them.
4. Take Advantage of Tech Products & Services
Use technology platforms to help your client visualize where they are at. Amid so much uncertainty, your client will greatly value your capacity to virtually explain where their finances stand. Focus on the long term strategies you had set when you began the relationship.
How To: Prospect New Business
1. Be Proactive (Again!)
Much like maintaining relationships with your current clients, pick up the phone! The current climate isn’t an impetus to growing your practice, as long as you don’t make it one. When you get a new prospect inquiry, pick up the phone, introduce yourself, and be sure to set up the next step whether that be a video meeting or another phone call.
2. Use Reason To Ease Concerns and Objections
Who has heard “This all sounds good, but we’d like to meet in person once all this settles down?” If you haven’t gotten ahead of this objection before recommending next steps, you are doing a disservice to yourself. Remember: You are the agent of change in your client’s lives. The time to take action and build a plan is now more than ever. Convey calmly and reasonably the urgency of developing a relationship with a financial advisor. Downplay the pleasantries that are gained by a face to face meeting.
3. Embrace the Awkwardness
By now we’ve all been in a video call with a crying baby in the background or some unfortunate tech issues! It happens all the time. If there’s a fumble in your first interaction, or technology fails us – laugh it off. It’s only a big deal if you make it one. Make a joke, tell a story, and move on! Don’t let an awkward moment turn a new client away because you couldn’t recover.
4. Focus on What Your Selling: Your Expertise
Lean on your technology, but don’t forget people buy their advisor, not their software. Don’t hide behind a screen share if you haven’t created a meaningful connection yet.
By taking the time to understand your client’s goals, needs, and wishes, you’re able to let them know you’ve heard and understood them. Then, dive into all that you can do for them. Tailor your technology tools to what matters to them most.
This Situation Is Only A Deterrent If You Let It Be
Be it prospecting new business or maintaining your current client relationships, a financial advisor’s ability to adapt to the “new normal” is the key to success. With digitization as the new norm, clients most value the advisor who is able to act flexibly and innovatively.
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