Every corner of the world is being impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and many people’s livelihoods may be threatened either through job loss or market volatility. As a financial advisor, your services are likely considered among those classified as essential but, like many others, you’re having to adapt to working remotely and may have added responsibilities you haven’t had to deal with before.
Helping clients is the ultimate goal, but in order to help them you may need to help yourself by making sure you have the tools you need. How do you remain productive and continue to help clients who may be reaching out to you during these concerning times? Here are some tips.
1. Remain Accessible
As people stay in their homes to avoid potential exposure, they may find themselves spending more time online. Those who are exceptionally nervous about recent market declines may access their online investment reports, only to find their values may have declined significantly.
During a time when schedules for you and your clients may be unconventional due to stay-at-home orders, remote work or furloughs, 24-hour access to information matters more than ever. You may need to make allowances for overly anxious clients to connect with you during off hours. Make it easy to contact you through online portals, your contact page, via email and other means. You may even want to consider sharing your cell number with a select group of clients whom you feel may especially benefit from connecting via text or phone.
Like never before, leverage your customer relationship management (CRM) platform by taking thorough notes about every interaction. It’s a good habit to get into and may be a valuable resource down the road.
2. Create a Virtual Experience
Some advisors are being thrust into the realm of virtual visits with their clients whether they like it or not. When face-to-face meetings aren’t possible, you may need to rely on one of the available online video platforms to connect with them. Many video conferencing services only require a computer camera and an internet connection. As the public becomes more accustomed to conducting business online, they may be more receptive to virtual visits with you as time goes on.
If you’re not accustomed to virtual meetings, now is the perfect time to familiarize yourself with the tools. Practice screen sharing capabilities and various functionalities with another remote colleague or family member to get comfortable with the technology, then reach out to clients to conduct their quarterly meetings or talk through their challenges. You may discover there are many ways to strengthen your relationships with clients, even during social distancing.
3. Keep Learning
Some advisors may be fielding more calls from concerned clients. However, those who find themselves with a little more time on their hands may be organizing files and cleaning up that overstuffed email inbox. If that sounds like you, it may also be an opportune time to engage in some continuing education. Take advantage of various informative resources that are offered through wholesalers, and educate yourself about products outside your typical go-to options. Your clients may be looking for alternatives to traditional portfolios of the past.
Of course, there’s another form of education that many advisors may need to brush up on. Due to school closures, many parents have suddenly been thrust into the role of becoming their children’s teachers. While school districts may provide curriculum, it’s the parent’s job to ensure their children participate and keep up with their schoolwork. If that’s your reality, rely on online resources and help your children identify their strengths by engaging in passion projects. Just as you need a dedicated space for working at home, provide a dedicated space for your children’s learning, too.
4. Maintain Time Management
If you’re new to working remotely, every day can start to feel like the last. Your normal structures of the past may no longer be in place, such as getting kids ready for school, getting to work, or even simply getting dressed. It’s important for you and your family to establish a new routine and schedule to maximize productivity and learning. It may just be part of a cure for boredom as well. While it’s easy to find yourself staying up later or sleeping in, try to stick to a sleep schedule to help you begin your routine at the same time each day. And yes…get dressed.
Depending on your family obligations, some flexibility may be in order, but keeping close to your normal work routine may help you stay focused and more productive. While some may find that working remotely makes the days drag on, others may lose track of time and work later into the evening. If that’s the case, consider setting a timer and give yourself opportunities to recharge and indulge in a little self-care.
If there are school children at home, they will also likely benefit from a normal schedule for meals, physical activities and education. There may be times when you need to have some understanding when kids are demanding of your time, however, especially with younger children, so make the most of your time with them. Remember, you’re likely the one disrupting their normal schedule and not the other way around.
5. Do Your Part
You may be able to help your clients feel a bit more at ease simply by showing that you’re doing your part to mitigate the risks of the pandemic. It may be as simple as including a statement on your website regarding your response to the crisis, or posting on social media about how you’re following the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations by working remotely, social distancing, wearing face masks and gloves, and washing your hands frequently.
After all is said and done, this crisis may actually help improve your client relationships by creating a shared experience and demonstrating that you’re all in this together.
Some generations are more at ease working remotely and using technology, especially Millennials, so now may be the perfect time to reach out to them through virtual visits. Before you do, check out our report below to help you connect with them on a deeper level.