The traditional sales model has always relied heavily on interpersonal cues. Making organic interjections, reading the subtleties of body language, and building a relatable bond are simply easier done in-person.
Normal life may feel like it’s on pause right now, but financial needs definitely aren’t. Investors continue to buy houses, start families, send their children to school, and save for the future. Online searches for the term “financial advisor” have increased by 17% since 2019.1 Knowing how to provide expert advice virtually both to existing clients and new prospects will determine advisor success.
If the past year has proven anything at all, it’s that life very much goes on despite the circumstances.
Build a prospect list: Before providing virtual advice, build a virtual client base. With so many of us still working from home, virtually anyone can be found online! Leverage your existing LinkedIn network and connect with logical acquaintances to broaden the scope of potential prospects. From the global shutdowns announced in March 2020 to the realities of quarantine in April 2020, 27% more investors were open to working with an advisor remotely.2
Make time for face time (even if it’s over Facetime): Remember how crucial face time is in the sales process – putting a face to the expert and reading your clients’ facial expressions are key contributors to a positive virtual experience. Video calls add value by gradually building trust and creating a rapport. Without trust, there is no business. Approximately 77% of advisors have experienced client loss as a result of not adapting to the technological requirements of today.3
Share your expert insights: As you build an online audience and network, you can create virtual touch points by sending relevant articles, recent interviews, even infographics to your prospects and clients. Put thought into your strategy before clicking on “Send”; demonstrate that the content you’ve sent them is relevant to their financial objectives and concerns. The goal is to guide them through your funnel by leveraging your expert perspectives until they ultimately convert.
Request virtual referrals: An astounding 44.4% of high net worth investors claim to have hired their advisor through the referral of a personal or professional contact.4 Customers who are happy with the service you’ve provided could potentially open doors to other prospects; their positive feedback may lead to a virtual referral that could change everything.
An increase in virtual advice doesn’t mean a rise of the robo-advisors. A sequence of sophisticated algorithms could build a portfolio based on a pre-determined breakdown of bonds and stocks. But it can’t make customized, critical decisions. It can’t mimic the intricacies of long-standing professional relationships between advisor and client. And this will remain particularly valid when it comes to advisors providing expert advice to prospective clients. Those human touchpoints cannot be recreated by a computer.
1. Advisor Perspectives. (2020). The Coronavirus Opened a Virtual Advice Opportunity.
4. World Wealth Report 2018, Capgemini.
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