Pandemic no obstacle for advisers reaching clients
If someone had told us in March of 2020 that we would still be in the grip of the Covid-19 pandemic as we entered 2022, I think we would have probably ridiculed them.
Yet the reality is that, 22 months after it started, the impact of the pandemic is still affecting our daily lives and the likelihood is that, in one form or another, it is going to be around for a long time to come.
So, is it still going to be a ‘happy’ new year for advisers? I believe so, quite simply because the way in which the vast majority of adviser firms have risen to the challenges of Covid-19 has been quite outstanding.
I have written many times previously that the speed with which advisers adapted to remote working was magnificent. Equally impressive, however, has been the way that clients have also rapidly adapted to remote ways of communicating. This applies whether it is chatting on FaceTime to their children and grandchildren or, of course, their financial adviser.
Clearly, nothing can quite replace the personal bonding and relationship building which comes from meeting face-to-face. Nonetheless, we are seeing incredibly strong relationships being built with clients entirely remotely, through Zoom, FaceTime and Teams. The vast majority of advisers I speak to, whilst invariably extolling the virtues of face-to-face interactions, are also highlighting their success at remote meetings with clients.
Initially, these tended to be restricted to existing clients, however it is now increasingly the case that new clients are being welcomed on board through remote meetings. This is particularly effective when it is a referral from an existing client who has dealt with you remotely. I think, perhaps, this is because it’s quite a benign way of meeting someone new. After all, if the potential new client doesn’t feel comfortable with you they can simply turn you off!
Another reason the importance of the growing success of virtual meetings is so profound is the impact remote technology can have on your business and, indeed, the environment. The fact is that, whether it is you driving to see a client, or the client driving to visit you, it is bad for the environment; just imagine how many journeys could be saved if advisers conducted say, four out of five of meetings remotely.
Thanks to remote meetings, some advisers are already seeing double the number of clients they could meet previously. This is why, since the pandemic started, far from suffering, many firms are reporting increases in turnover and, very importantly, increased client satisfaction. This is now an established trend which will continue, regardless of what happens with Covid. Why would you or your clients waste time, and costly fuel, travelling to meetings, which can so easily be dealt with as, or more, effectively, remotely? The resulting impact on every aspect of an adviser firm’s service and profitability is potentially phenomenal.
As we welcome 2022 I therefore urge you to set a goal of having at least three out of four of your client meetings remotely. This will undoubtedly be good for the environment, and your clients will be happier, whilst your own success will significantly increase. If you do this, I guarantee that when January 2023 comes around, you will have a more robust and profitable practice, whatever the state of the pandemic.