Working from home is a challenge that many people are facing because of COVID-19. But this uncertainty brings with it an even greater need for financial guidance and expertise.
Your social interactions with clients may have declined now that the country is in lockdown, but you can continue to make a difference in your client’s lives. By rising to the challenge and adapting how you connect with them, you can come out the other side an even better adviser.
Managing your clients from a distance
As many people are self-isolating at home, anxiety is bound to rise about their health, safety and finances. It’s important that you make potential and existing clients aware that you’re able to assist them even if it’s from a distance.
Not being able to see clients face-to-face may seem like a barrier, but by making small changes to your communication, your transition to giving online advice can be seamless. It’s this flexibility that will help your business pull through when many of your competitors fail.
How remote working can benefit your business
- You’re virtually available: By using media such as mobile, text, and video conferencing, you’re showing clients you’re open to meeting their individual needs however they want to communicate.
- Your clients will feel more at ease: Giving clients the chance to speak with you from the safety of their homes can offer comfort. This could give your clients the confidence they need to discuss tough subjects such as income protection.
- You can expand your reach: Remote working opens the door to people you wouldn’t normally be able to advise. This can include clients that live in remote areas or work unusual hours.
- You can use helpful resources and tools: Visual aids can help you break down complex products or services to your clients. Screen sharing and presentations are great tools to increase customer understanding.
- You can share your calendar: Google Calendar is integrated with Gmail, Docs and other G Suite products. This gives you the flexibility to seamlessly plan and deliver your next consultation, allowing customers to book time when it suits both you and them.
- You can better support clients with visual or hearing difficulties: Video calls can allow clients to lip read as you speak. You could also offer pre-recorded audio documents and large print PDFs.
Our recommended free video conferencing tools
Here are four free tools we recommend to help you connect with your clients.
- Google Hangouts: Google’s free version is perfect for one-to-one video calls with clients. You can also use it for group calls of up to 10 people. Its Google Calendar integration helps you book your next consultation and you can sync chats across iOS, Android, and the web.
- Zoom: The free ‘Basic’ version offers HD video conferencing with virtual backgrounds and screen sharing. Send clients a link to your video call and they can join from their mobile, tablet or desktop.
- WhatsApp: The free messaging app encrypts your messages, keeping them confidential across mobile, desktop, and the web. It also offers video conference calls and is available for all platforms. You can even use it to share PDFs, spreadsheets, and other documents up to 100MB.
- Skype: There’s no need to install Skype if you or your clients use Windows – it’s integrated into the operating system. It’s also packed with handy features such as call recording, background blur and screen sharing.
Supporting and reassuring your clients
Not everyone will be on board with getting financial advice unless it’s face-to-face. And many will feel too distracted or anxious to articulate their financial concerns.
But the COVID-19 lockdown doesn’t change the quality of advice and support you can offer. What has changed is that you’re more available when they need you the most.
You can move forward together. Whether they’re a new lead or one you’ve worked with for years, it’s vital to establish trust and offer reassurance.
Here are a few ways to connect with existing clients:
- Check-in with a call, WhatsApp message or email to see how each client is getting on. This simple gesture can offer welcome human contact, relief from worry and shows you care.
- If you haven’t done so already, send an update about how your business will continue to operate.
- Let clients know how they can contact you, even for matters outside of financial advice. Your clients care about you too and may wonder how you’re doing.
- Offer clients a quick video conference test run to help familiarise them with the process.
- Show clients it’s business as usual by conducting your video conferences the same way you would face-to-face.
- Dress for the office – it will help establish authority and give them the confidence that they’re getting expert help.
- Remember to show patience, compassion, and the willingness to listen, especially with older customers.
Once your clients are comfortable communicating in new ways, reassure them that you’re there to help them through this difficult time. Only then should you discuss serious topics such as pensions or investments.
Best practice for contacting new leads
From contacting brand new leads to reaching out to existing clients, these are our top tips for building and maintaining your network.
Making an initial connection
- Aim to contact the lead within five minutes of receiving it.
Quick action ensures you get there before your competitors.
- Be consistent with your communications and try to make sure the same person contacts a lead from initial contact through to consultation.
- A combination of phone, email, text and voicemail will boost your chances of making a connection.
- If your contact efforts fail, send a final email to serve as a handy reminder that you can help if they decide to take advice in the future.
Speaking to your leads and existing clients
- Always use a friendly, conversational tone whether you’re on mobile, email, text or video call.
- Let your client know they can have a family member present to offer support if needed.
- Break the ice with a brief chat about something light before you discuss finances. The more you open up to your customers, the more likely they are to open up to you.
- Never assume to know what your client is feeling or thinking. If in doubt, ask.
- Always check in to see if they have any questions during a call, video chat or other communication.
Working together to support your success
Lead Tech has supported financial advice businesses to grow for over 12 years – and we’re evolving to meet our partners’ needs.
Read our joint CEO Nigel Borwell’s message on the changes we’ve made to support our partners during COVID-19.