What are other advisors doing? This is one of the most asked questions in our Carson Coaching Community. Our ability to plug into a network of dedicated and growing advisor firms is what makes our community so valuable.
Lately, the version of this question has been, “How are other advisors handling client meetings in the future and team members’ requests to work from home?”
This is where the work (or magic) of a coach comes into play. Could I give you the data for what other advisors are doing? Sure! Will that give you the right solution for you, your team and your clients? It could, but I would be doing a huge disservice in suggesting that you make this decision based on that information alone.
Coaches are trained to help you distinguish when there is a black and white answer and when you must find your shade of grey. For a majority of financial advisors, this question lands in the grey space.
To navigate this decision and path forward, ask yourself key questions about remote work.
What are your client’s preferences for how they meet with you?
It is likely that you may not have a bullet proof answer here. And you’re not alone. Since our choices to meet in person haven’t been ours for awhile, we probably haven’t put too much effort into finding this out. If you don’t know their preference, I would suggest doing several of the following:
- Seek out guidance from your Client Advisory Council
- Survey your clients on their meeting preferences
- Ask clients during reviews what their preference in meeting with you moving forward if you are willing to be flexible
How does hosting virtual vs. in-person meetings alter your client experience?
For some advisors, the experience of hosting a client in the office creates a true “Wow!” experience. And for others, it may just be the way you have done things because it wasn’t broken, so why try to fix it? There isn’t a right or wrong way here. I would suggest you take inventory of how/if your client experience has changed. Begin by answering the following questions:
- What part of our client experience relies on having client meetings in person?
- How important are these components to your overall experience?
- What value is introduced to the client experience by meeting virtually? (Hint, hint – convenience!)
- What have been your obstacles to creating a seamless virtual client experience?
How does meeting and/or working virtually or in person impact your goals? And your wellbeing?
Many people this year have taken a step back to take inventory of their personal and professional life. You can certainly argue that there are benefits to remote work for financial advisors, but that may not be what is most productive for you. I would suggest thinking through some of the following:
- What has changed for you by working remotely?
One potential personal benefit I’ve heard from financial advisors is that they are more willing to take advantage of spending time at their vacation homes, or even traveling, with the ability to work remotely.
Another perk is eliminating or reducing your commute, which might mean you can spend more time with your family or use some of that time to prospect and connect with clients.
- Are you able to set appropriate start and stop times for work and personal life if you are working from home?
Some people find that they spend more time responding to emails and the like when working from home.
- How does having virtual meetings impact your business goals?
There seems to be a strong consensus that advisors can have shorter meetings with clients when meeting virtually. This may mean there is an opportunity to meet with more clients per day/week. While this might mean more time back in your day, be sure to evaluate closely if and how these shorter meetings change your client experience and effectiveness at capturing more wallet share, in addition to asking clients for introductions.
Another potential benefit I have heard expressed by advisors is that virtual meetings open up their potential client market because distance is no longer an issue.
A handful of advisors have taken the opportunity to bring their client’s children and/or grandchildren into client meetings due to the ability to meet virtually.
What is the impact of allowing yourself and/or your team members to work from home?
In general, our profession has maintained a fairly traditional office work environment. However, in this last year, you may have found yourself leading your team or even part of your team remotely.
Here are some other considerations that I have discussed with other advisors that might also impact your willingness and ability to offer working-from-home options:
- What has been your team member’s feedback about working virtually?
- How might remote work impact your potential hiring pool?
- How effectively can you train remote team members?
- What boundaries and/or policies need to be created to offer part- or full-time remote work?
- How might having more remote staff impact your technology and other expenses?
- What compliance or security considerations do you need to address with remote employees?
- How has remote work impacted communication/rapport with you and your team?
- How has remote work impacted you and your team’s productivity?
With change, we discover both new opportunities and challenges. I encourage you to take a step back to review not only the impact of virtual meetings and remote work but the other changes that took place in this last year.
Don’t go at it alone – engage your team, your coach, and your clients as you move forward. As the saying goes, never waste a good crisis.
A coach can help you pinpoint your firm’s needs and work through the details to make decisions that make the most sense for you, your team and your clients. Click here to learn more and schedule a consultation.