"2020 and 2021 have been challenging years for financial professionals, but it really boils down to whether you are using 'challenge' as a noun or as a verb. As a noun, a 'challenge' is a problem. As a verb, a 'challenge' is a call to action. I challenge the reader to use 'challenge' as a call to action and make the most of where we are today.
"One byproduct of the pandemic is that our clients now are largely videoconference literate. The last two years, in fact, have made grandparents just as competent as their grandchildren in using Zoom. This has accelerated the public’s acceptance of videoconferencing as commonplace.
"As such, there is opportunity for an enormous productivity boost for advisors who use teleconferencing whenever possible. Teleconferencing allows me to have more meetings per day, encourages shorter meetings – which is better for us and the client – and saves on driving costs.
"Videoconferencing can’t replace all our meetings, but it does replace most meetings with existing clients, and it replaces many of our phone calls for first meetings. There isn’t a lot of time left in 2021; so, get on the phone and schedule your first video meetings with your prospective clients!
"The pandemic has also created an additional awareness of how fragile life is. Clients need good planning now more than ever, and they know it. Year-end is a time for reflection, and it is also a time for future planning. Right now is the best time of the year to talk to clients about their planning.
"Lastly, many people have New Year’s Resolutions to get their finances in order for the New Year. But like so many New Year’s Resolutions, putting them off until 'next year' is just enough time to lose the inertia to accomplish the goals.
"Make a list of your top prospective clients and call them to set up a Zoom meeting to do preplanning for their 2022 Financial New Year’s Resolutions. We all know it is much easier to achieve a goal with a 'guide' helping and holding us accountable.
"And if a prospective client tells you their estate is large enough that they don’t have to worry about resolutions, ask them if they are taking advantage of the special gifting opportunities only useful for larger estates. Interested in hearing more? Let’s hop on Zoom!"
'Embrace Finding New Ways'
Juli McNeely, financial representative with McNeely Financial Services, agreed that technology has forever changed the way advisors interact with clients.
"We have actually had a record-breaking year serving our clients despite the pandemic. Perhaps the best thing you can do is to continue to embrace finding new ways to serve and meet with your clients.
"Technology has allowed us to continue to meet with our clients even when we can’t be across the table from them. We have made our client relationships the most important thing to focus on going forward. At a time when there is so much uncertainty, we have been there proactively, walking the financial journey with our clients."
Ayo Mseka has more than 30 years of experience reporting on the financial-services industry. She formerly served as Editor-In-Chief of NAIFA’s Advisor Today magazine. Contact her at [email protected]