You’ve heard of the metaverse, but do you know what it is? And, to take it one step further, have you thought about what your advising practice might look like within the metaverse? For most, the answer to at least one of those questions is likely no.
But take it from me – leveraging the metaverse doesn’t require advanced computing knowledge, nor does it have to replace real life. And of course, it does have functions beyond playing table tennis with people on the other side of the world.
What is the metaverse?
The metaverse is an immersive virtual world, where you can exist as a 3D avatar of yourself, facilitated through use of a virtual reality headset. The virtual world exists in another “dimension,” where people can interact not face to face as humans, but online as avatars. Real-life experiences are replicated in the metaverse – from interacting with friends, exploring exotic locales and even patronizing businesses.
All it takes to transport to the metaverse is a VR headset, and over the past few years, companies like Facebook and Google have been inspired to create their own versions of the headset. They’ve also started exploring ways in which their companies can build a presence in the metaverse – in addition to providing the means by which to access the metaverse, they’re also looking into creating experiences and even moving some of their “offices” to the metaverse.
My journey to the metaverse
In today’s rapidly evolving technological landscape, leveraging tech as a point of differentiation can be difficult to do. I started using tools that forged a path toward the metaverse back when it was still a concept best left to sci-fi movies. In 2003, I started working with clients via webinars and through Skype, both platforms that allowed me to virtually interact with my clientele while also being present in the moment. Before COVID even hit, I had become quite tech savvy and developed a strong understanding of the best ways to leverage technology in my practice.
So, when virtual reality started to become a broader trend, I bought my first Oculus headset. At first it was a fun escape, but it eventually transformed into a space for me to interact with clients and other financial advisors, in another dimension. Now, the metaverse is a part of my daily routine in my practice, providing another dimension for me to prospect, brand and innovate.
Advising in the metaverse
Simply put, the metaverse helps bring me together with prospects and existing clients – and that starts before I even put on the headset. I engage in many social media groups and pages dedicated to metaverse enthusiasts – many of whom are high-level executives checking out the metaverse to see how it might work for their businesses. When I identify a prospect in these online communities, I can invite them to meet with me in the metaverse, an exciting offer for those who have primarily used the metaverse for fun and games.
When meeting in the metaverse – with these newfound prospects or existing clients – I can create a more immersive experience. On Zoom and other virtual meeting platforms, it’s two-dimensional, just an image on the screen. In the metaverse, you can “shake hands” and feel the handshake, or even give a virtual hug. I can entertain prospects on my metaverse yacht without the hefty price of doing so in real life. I can be anywhere in the world without leaving my office, which gives me the opportunity to make more genuine connections and learn what is important to my clients and prospects.
As a pioneer of using the metaverse as part of my practice, I’m ahead of the game. My knowledge in this area helps clients feel confident that I’m keeping up with the latest developments and using innovative technologies to interact with them in new, cutting-edge ways – which helps them trust that I’ll be just as current and up-to-date on the best, most innovative ways to manage their finances.
The metaverse doesn’t have to be a mysterious, complex place – it’s easy to get started maximizing your business possibilities, and all it takes to start is a VR headset and a bit of creativity.
About the Author Panos Leledakis is the CEO of IFAAcademy - International Financial Architects, and a pioneer in the insurance industry. Throughout his work in the insurance industry, he covers an array of topics from digital transformation to how to utilize new technologies in the profession. Leledakis is an expert on financial advising in the metaverse, having presented at conferences around the world including the MDRT Annual meeting. Leledakis is a 4-year MDRT member and has attained Top of the Table status.