How to Adopt a Virtual Sales Process for Your Remote Practice

asian woman adopting a virtual sales process for her remote practice

At the start of 2020, companies and financial advisors were scheduling client dinners and booking business trips to conduct face-to-face sales meetings. This way of operating came to an abrupt standstill as COVID-19 forced sales teams to shift their operations into the virtual world.

“Physical sales teams had to learn an entirely new system for maintaining and closing deals,” said Brian Moran, CEO of Small Business Edge.

Consider the history of the  handshake in sales culture, symbolically sealing the deal. However, this polite gesture can’t be replicated over video chat, during the current pandemic.

“Things like visual communication or tone of voice carry incredible weight in how we communicate,” says E.J. Kritz, director of training and insights . “While a Zoom meeting can still allow a salesperson to add a sense of human element by being polite and accommodating or dazzling customers with their enthusiasm, much of the deal is now done via email, taking away from the personal element and making the encounter more impersonal.”

Change is the only constant

The world is changing rapidly, and the financial planning industry needs to adapt accordingly, not to be left behind. Admittedly a daunting prospect, but this change is a much-needed shift that comes accompanied by great opportunity.

a virtual sales process outlasts constant change

Transitioning from face-to-face selling to virtual selling requires a new  approach better suited to the demands of new-age buyers who prefer to work through digital channels. This virtual realm can offer more visibility, enhanced customer engagement, and greater efficiency from technology use.

Building an entirely virtual team is a far more financially viable way of running your practice. You no longer require overheads, such as office space and equipment and there’s more room for collaboration, as you can work with specialised individuals as you need them. These digital collaborators can be located anywhere in the world, charging per hourly or agreeing to a set budget per project.

Trust the virtual sales process  

The same tools, such as Zoom and Skype, once used to discuss personal matters and connect with friends, are now used to give clients personalised financial advice in the comfort of their own homes. Younger generations such as Gen Z and Millennials actually prefer it.  In fact this was already mainstream before the pandemic with over 42 million households already prime candidates for virtual advice according to a 2019 Mckinsey report.   Not only will it save you time, but it can avert any awkwardness that arises from visiting clients at their place of residence after hours.

Having the correct digital infrastructure in place is essential to communicate with your virtual staff and clients while protecting all parties’ data. The brick and mortar model would require you to visit physical locations for sales meetings or go to a client’s home at night. Now you can conduct virtual ‘house call’ appointments. Using your business website, you could set up a scheduling tool to enable customers to set up virtual meetings online. This scheduling tool could sync with your calendar for convenience.

Communication is key 

Strong communication lines between employees and managers can further help workers feel part of a network and keep remote work from becoming isolating.

Working remotely allows for more flexibility within your schedule and gives you the ability to choose your hours. When time zones differ, and work schedules don’t align, it’s essential to be mindful of your co-worker’s time to create a working symbiosis.

Remote working can bring about a sudden change to your daily schedule. For instance, if an employee falls ill, you need to take on the responsibility to compensate for their absence as a team. You delegate the work among your team, to best maintain productivity within your practice.

communicating with teams virtually

Prospect through digital marketing

Prospecting transforms into digital marketing with your entire audience existing online. Adopting the virtual financial planning model is where you will need to connect with them.

First impressions are more important than ever, so invest your time and energy in designing and implementing an effective digital marketing strategy that can help increase your SEO ranking and improve your sales conversion rates.  This is your digital storefront do it right and clients will be coming to you.

Interacting with potential clients online can give you direct insight into what your audience wants. This valuable information can steer your decision-making processes in the future. It will also help you enhance your customers’ experience, develop loyalty and trust through exemplary service, and increase your ROI.

One of the key strengths of digital marketing for financial advisors lies in creating brand awareness to target new markets and consumers.

Delivering a high-quality service will result in more fulfilled client relationships and see healthy brand awareness transpire through feedback, reviews, and word of mouth publicity. These customer assets help build a brand reputation without costing you time, money, or energy.

Define and publish your virtual sales process

Once you get traffic (potential clients) to come to your digital storefront you must show them what to expect if they work with you.  Although each virtual sales process will vary slightly depending on the advisor you should make it clear how many meetings they should expect to have with you, how long each meeting typically takes, and what is to be covered in each meeting.

Whether you realize it or not potential clients want to know what your virtual sales process is since they want to know what to expect in working with you.  If you don’t tell them clearly what to expect you are giving them one more reason not to contact you.  Check out my virtual sales process for Intrepid Wealth Partners here as an example of what you should consider doing for your digital store front.

Prepare for the future

The sooner you embrace the technological revolution we are currently experiencing, the sooner you will be able to utilise the ability to work with people anywhere on earth and streamline your business collaboration to reach new heights.

The consumer and technology have evolved, we must do the same.

Cheers,

Derek Notman

Riskalyze x Conneqtor Lead Generation Webinar Replay

digital marketing lead generation and defining your niche

Digital Marketing, Lead Generation, and Niches

Digital marketing, lead generation and defining your niche are 3 of the key pillars to the ‘digital as default’ model.

As more financial advisors understand the necessity of adopting a remote advisory model, these pillars will become powerful tools in the arsenal of advisors across the globe.

digital marketing for financial advisors

Riskalyze x Conneqtor Lead Generation Webinar

Our founder, Derek Notman had the privilege of joining Director of Channel Marketing at Riskalyze, Matt Fritsch in exploring these three pillars in an exclusive webinar.

If you missed it, you can watch the webinar below:

In summary, the Virtual Advisor System provides advisors with proven strategies and tools for building a robust digital marketing footprint for enhanced lead generation. It also provides a framework from which to define your niche.

If you want to learn more about the origins of Conneqtor and how the Virtual Advisor System can facilitate your transition onto the virtual advisory model, then download our free e-book here.

How Financial Advisors Can Develop a Compelling Online Experience

financial advisor social media and digital marketing

So here we are, about ten months into a global health emergency. Over the better part of a year, we have seen entire countries go into lockdown, with most of our country forced to work remotely from home.

If having an influential online presence was important before COVID-19, it is a high-priority now. You cannot survive without one. Look, our 2020 plans were through for a loop this year, but there also is a silver lining to it all for financial advisors especially.

Arguably our greatest attribute as a species is our resilience – our ability to come together and prevail through even the most treacherous circumstances.

So, although it has been some year, I’m here to show you how to embrace this new normal to your advantage as a financial advisor. It begins with developing a compelling online experience.

Adapt your Strategy

Due to the vast improvements in technology, many of our daily tasks have carried on the same, with some now automated. However, as a financial advisor looking to attract prospects (new clients), you cannot rely on previous marketing methods that are more than dated.

social media strategy

As a matter of fact, you’ve got to change your marketing strategy quite significantly.

By adapting your outreach and lead nurturing approach, you will ensure growth and sustainability. Although it first may seem a little daunting, once you’re up and running, it is more scalable and predictable, not to mention that the consumer expects it.

You can start shifting your strategy by working on your blog and social media presence. Everyone is at home, which means that most of us are on our devices more than usual, so it’s the perfect opportunity to engage with your target audience.

Try to build your new marketing strategy around giving your readers valuable advice that they can apply to their lives immediately. In other words, use your skills and experience to write guides, lists & tip style blogs, newsletters, and eBooks that are free to download. You will need to publish content regularly, at least once a week, so get creative and use your knowledge to reel prospective clients in.

Use Social Media to Promote Your Content

No one wants to be blatantly sold to. You have to base your social media strategy around providing real worth to your audience first. Sure, when you’ve built up a following, there’s no harm in a self-promotional post once a week, but for now, make sure your posts are giving something worthwhile to whoever they reach.

Your social media channels should be used as a conversion tool to serve as a source of credibility for your business and aid your SEO efforts. Your channels (compliance approved of course), such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, should always be kept active with relevant, helpful content and should never be directly used for finding new clients.

Content posted on social media should be broken down into the following categories:

Educational content

Educational content should be made up of posts that share helpful, informative, and valuable information to your audience on a topic that resonates with them. Think about what you can teach them about – top tips, how-to’s, infographics, did you know’s, blog posts, industry information, resources, case studies, etc.

Conversational content

Here, it would help if you tried to ask the audience questions and get people engaging with your brand – think ‘fill in the blank,’ ‘caption this,’ ‘give your opinion,’ or polls that they can interact with.

Entertaining content/Inspirational content

It would be best if you weren’t too serious all of the time. Have some fun and create posts that your audience will relate to and enjoy – think memes, quotes, fantastic imagery, motivational posts, feel-good stories, etc.

Brand connection content

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, you need to make your clients’ experience more personal. Again, have a little fun and showcase what you’re all about. Brand connection content should be focused on behind the scenes, employee features, and your brand story.

Promotional content

Try to build a following first, and once you have, sneak in posts that promote your products, services, specials, deals, etc. Also, make sure to add a call to action so that your followers know exactly what to do should they be interested in what’s on offer.

Use Paid Media Campaigns for Promotion

There are so many ways to ensure your marketing efforts are impactful and effective. Once you publish content regularly and promote it across your socials, you can look at setting up paid ad campaigns.

facebook social media ads

Paid advertising is hugely beneficial because it garners instant results, can be measured, is cost-effective, and ultimately enhances your efforts towards building meaningful relationships with your audience.

Now that you’ve adopted a fully digital financial planning practice, your overhead can be considerably lower, so investing in the right tools to help you develop a compelling online experience is imperative to your success.

At Conneqtor, we have built a comprehensive set of processes that will help you establish yourself as a financial advisor in this day and age. Download our free eBook to find out more.

I hope you enjoyed reading this!

Kind regards,

Derek Notman

Digital Marketing for Financial Advisors: Compliance Guidelines

digital marketing compliance fir financial advisor

When creating a digital marketing strategy, compliance is often a complicated issue for financial advisors, usually turning out to be a bigger headache than it should.

I recently created a poll in a LinkedIn group, asking my peers what the biggest challenge preventing them from creating content on social media is, and 52% of them answered compliance.

Sure, digital marketing compliance for financial advisors is tricky, but you will never look back once you set up a proper process. After all, this is where most of your leads will come from, so you must come to terms with it.

Because social media posts are a form of advertising, your social accounts as a financial advisor are subject to specific regulations.

It all starts with understanding the law, on top of your company’s policies and procedures.

How you are registered as an advisor (RIA, IAR, Agent, RR, etc.) will partially determine what regulations you fall under but I believe it is safe to say that for an issue-free online presence, FINRA’s rules on communicating with the public as a financial advisor are crucial to follow. I think it equally important to abide by the requirements monitored by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). These rules are in place to protect your audience from false, misleading claims, fabricated statements, and material breaches.

finra headquarters

As a financial advisor myself, I live in one of the industry’s most conservative compliance environments, so if I can do it, any advisor should be able to.

Here are some guidelines to follow when it comes to Digital Marketing for Financial Advisors.

Set up Your Social Accounts and Website to Be Compliant from The Beginning

As long as you are aware and understand the basic rules and set up your profiles to be compliant from the very beginning, keeping up with approved content will become second nature for you.

Most often personal & business profiles are subject to adhere to compliance standards for financial advisors. This includes any social account or profiles directly connected to and managed by you or your business. This will likely include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Your broker-dealer or another registered principal is responsible for having policies in place to archive, review, and pre-approve (when necessary) any content published on these accounts.

Get Your Content Pre-Approved from Compliance

The content you’ll need to get approved for publishing is any long-form content, such as blogs, whitepapers, eBooks, or newsletters. Long-form content or static content is usually published on your website and then shared to your social accounts – it lives on your site for an extended period. blog approval for compliance

If you have a digital marketing strategy and plan, you will need to get this type of content pre-approved by a registered principal. Whether this is through a broker-dealer or an independent RIA, it is imperative to get your content pre-approved before posting to avoid breaking any compliance rules.  Although a bit of a hassle this part is very important.  Your compliance back-office if there to protect you too so it’s imperative you work with them instead of against them.

Additionally, you’ll also be doing some community management, and hopefully, be answering a lot of inquiries through direct messaging. Anything interactive, such as tweets, videos, or posts to your wall, will happen in real-time and obviously cannot always be pre-approved for compliance. Although they can’t be pre-approved, they should most certainly be monitored & archived by someone who fully understands the rules and regulations.

Your best bet is to have a policy in place and train anyone who will be posting content on your business’s behalf, such as an assistant or a social media manager.

A lot of firms use technology made available from outside vendors that allows all of your content to be archived and monitored in real time, much better to do this than try and do it manually.

Put A Policy in Place

By having a policy that aligns with FINRA’s rules and ensuring that your employees understand and know how to follow it, you will always be in the clear.

When engaging with clients, prospective clients, or anyone you interact with online, it’s essential to keep up to date with any changes to compliance so that your business can stay away from any issues.

Make sure you understand which posts should be pre-approved, which posts need to be reviewed, and ensure that your employees understand the importance of adhering to your policy. You can view all compliance rules here.

If you are affiliated with a B/D or RIA they have teams that do just this and then educate the field on how to best interact online.  If you are independent this is on you and your firm to manage or find a firm to outsource it to.

Although being part of a B/D or RIA compliance environment can be frustrating it also is a major opportunity for you.  If you do things correctly and are respectful of your compliance department you can stand a chance to influence their policies to better reflect the world we live in.

You Need to Archive Everything

Regarding digital marketing for financial advisors, it’s an absolute must to keep track of and archive any content you publish online. Regulations demand that you archive all of your content and activity for at least three years. Why? For your protection.

If anyone has an issue or dispute with something you have published or shared further down the line, you will be able to dig it up and prove your actions.

Keeping tabs on what you’ve posted requires proper archiving tools. Each type of contact or update needs to be archived, no matter what account you’re using. This includes sent and received messages, which should be reviewed and monitored as they occur. The monitoring of these messages guarantees compliance for financial advisors, so action can be taken if necessary.

For your website this also can be automated and made simple with strong workflows.  I use Advisor Websites for my two sites and their dashboard is directly connected to my compliance back-office so they can review, archive, and approve all my website content.

Never Recommend A Particular Investment or Product

Again, this is for your own protection. By refraining from making any investment recommendations, you will not be held accountable for any of your audience’s choices. Your goal with social media, digital marketing, and your website should be to create an educational environment where people can come get to know you and learn about things in general terms.

You shouldn’t be recommend a product, investment, strategy, etc. since you have no idea who is seeing your message and what their situation is.

Instead you should be letting people get to know you, professionally and personally, sharing general principals and ideas, and so on.  Your digital marketing efforts should lead people down a path to eventually them wanting to contact you.  If done correctly people will know what you do and who you do it for.  So build your tribe and let people contact you when they are ready.

Be Mindful of Third-Party Websites and Links

Using third-party sites to deepen your content has enormous benefits. The most significant benefit is through backlinks, which can improve your organic ranking on search engines and generate referral traffic.

Just take the same approach as with any of your other activities online, be wary of whether the content or website you are linking to is compliant with the rules and regulations set out by FINRA and SEC.  This will be a tough one to manage but what you can do is make sure in your disclaimers that people understand you are not responsible for the information you linked to and are providing it as a value add since you believe it helps further your point and message.

In short, don’t link to any sites that may contain false or misleading information. As you begin to post compliant content, it will take no time at all for you to identify what kind of content is acceptable.

You do not want your firm to look as if it is endorsing any cunning content.

Lastly, my advice is to add a disclaimer on your social media profiles stating that none of the information you provide should be construed as investment advice – this will act as an additional barrier of security against any disputes.  In fact, this is required by virtually all firms and is simply a best practice you should be using.

So, there you have it, digital marketing compliance for financial advisors in a nutshell.  Yes, there is a lot to it, but it is clear you can be successful with your efforts if you stick to being honest, ethical, and following the letter of the law.  Feel free to check out my advisor websites for Intrepid Wealth Partners and Tribe of Luxury for ideas and inspiration.

If you have any further questions in connection with digital marketing for financial advisors, please feel free to contact me – I am always happy to help!

I hope you find this article useful.

Kind regards,

Derek Notman

Content Creation Tips for Financial Advisors

content creation tips for financial advisors

Content is king. Yes, it sounds cliched, but in a digital world and especially in the realm of digital marketing, content truly is king. Yes, I know you’re not a digital marketer, you’re a financial advisor, but digital marketing is one of the most effective ways to build your brand and grow your business.

Content is essential in digital marketing because it makes people aware of your brand and hopefully converts them into paying customers.

Content is a trigger for interaction and engagement, and if people like what they see, read, and hear, they’re likely to come back for more.

Here’s what you need to know about content creation to ensure that you create excellent financial advice for your clients.

Content creation or curation belongs to the concept of inbound marketing; inbound marketing is the opposite of a hard sell or product push.

Inbound marketing is about publishing excellent, helpful, and relevant content that brings your customers to you.

It’s the type of content that helps users to find you because it’s content that they are looking for. The intention is that you will build permanent and long-term relationships with your customers by publishing this content.

People regularly seek financial advice; your clients are looking to you to receive the latest industry advice. They require information. And because you have the skill and knowledge, you can provide them with information that will help them make their financial decisions.

The onus is on you to explain ideas and concepts in a way that’s easy to grasp. In addition to this, you can offer tips, tricks, solutions, handy and helpful hints.

The thing with content is that you have to keep it up to date and keep it relevant, and this is no small task; it does take effort, research, and time. You need to keep yourself up to date with the latest trends. Try to read everything you can get your hands on related to the financial industry.

If you write regularly, you will find that creating content becomes more comfortable with practice.

This being said, though, there’s also something called evergreen content. This is content that is relevant for more extended periods and doesn’t go quickly out of date. It’s timeless content that will still generate traffic even when you are not writing.

Who’s Your Audience?

Who is your content intended for? Get to know your audience, get to understand their preferences. If you know their preferences, you can segment them into groups and target specific information. This makes them feel like the content was created explicitly for them.  Your audience is your Ideal Client.  The less defined it is the less effective your content will be in driving inbound leads.

Using Your Persona

Position yourself as an expert in your field. Write to your persona. People come back to things they can identify with, or that feels familiar. You will find that they get used to your expertise and style, and this is what will make them return. What makes you different from other financial advisors? What’s your niche?  And, just be you!

Promoting Your Content

Content promotion is also vital. There’s no point in creating valuable content if no one sees it. You still need to entice and persuade people to consume your content.

social media marketing for financial advisors

Email marketing and using your social media platforms are great tools to publicize your content. You can also promote your content through paid advertising or pay per click (PPC); this will get your content directly in front of your audience.

Ideation

When it comes to ideas on what to publish, you can do several things, but one of the best things to do is find out what people are searching for, then serve them relevant content that meets their needs. People use search engines to search for information. They will start their search by typing a word or term or phrase, known as a keyword. You can base a lot of your content on keyword research.

You can also ask your clients or readers what type of content they are looking for – create a poll and let them decide.

You could interview a subject matter expert and give your readers a precis. Or you could be very personal and write about your own financial journey. The list is endless.

Scheduling Content for Publishing

Once you have brainstormed ideas for content, it’s time to create a content calendar or plan. You need to schedule when your content will be published. It needs to be researched and written and edited and then only published.

There is a process, and you need to ensure your timing won’t trip you up. Also, different content belongs to various platforms. For example, blogs differ from social media content; they are longer and more in-depth and are posted on websites; they tend to be more evergreen because tweets last minutes or even seconds. This process will determine where you publish your content.

Analysis

And last but not least, you need to analyze the response to your content once published. How many page views did you receive? This is the number of users that viewed your content. What’s your bounce rate? This is the percentage of visitors who leave your site after visiting only one page. Were they engaged? Did they respond to any calls to action (CTAs) like downloading a freebie or contacting you directly?

The aim of analyzing your content is to find out what’s working. And if something isn’t working, it can be tweaked. This is one of the great marvels of digital content; it can be tracked and analyzed to determine if you’re reaching your goals.

digital marketing analytics

So now it’s up to you. Are you ready to get started?

I wish you luck on your journey. As I have, I hope that you will find that it’s filled with wonder and amazement and can do much for your burgeoning brand.

I hope you enjoyed reading this article! Remember, you can always reach out to me for guidance and advice.

Kind regards,

Derek Notman

How to Drastically Reduce Your Overhead While Expanding Your Team as A Virtual Advisor

reduce overhead and expand your team

Arguably the best thing about transforming your financial planning practice into a virtual one is that your overhead will come down drastically. No office + virtual staff = minimized expenses.

A relatively obvious observation, yes, but let us take a look at what a virtual practice actually looks like from a financial perspective.

As a business owner, your goal is to service your clients to the best of your ability while generating as much revenue as possible while still living a life you love, the virtual financial practice will enable you to do just that.

No More Rent

Not having to pay rent for physical office space is a considerable benefit, resulting in your saving a lot of money each year.

Depending on your location, office space can cost many thousands of dollars a month in the USA; astronomical and no longer necessary. Think about how you can reallocate this expense for your business while also bringing more home to enjoy life….

You will then have more room to reinvest some of your savings back into the business for the crucial aspects of running a virtual business. Think digital marketing and digital infrastructure – two necessities for a virtual financial planning practice you simply cannot go without.

working remotely saves costs

No Running Costs Associated with A Physical Office Space

Now, with zero office rental fees, also comes the benefit of not having to fork out for the general costs associated with running a physical office.

No more obligation to typical maintenance and utilities such as office supplies for your staff, internet for multiple people, electricity, water/sewage, or a cleaning company. Again, this will result in a drastic savings each month.

Other savings associated with a virtual business include not paying for maintenance on plumping, electrical, appliances, or even paint.  Or having to deal with a sewage backup at 1 in the morning…ya, that happened to me, ugh!

Virtual Employees Are Cheaper

Another significant saving is not having to pay the salaries and benefits for permanent employees. Fewer employees physically present in your office means less money to be paid out every month – in this case, none at all.

With a virtual financial planning practice, you can be fully operational by hiring virtual employees instead. The benefits? Firstly, it is not your responsibility to ensure they are set up to work. So, you need not worry about office supplies, a laptop, or even their internet connection – you simply pay them by the hour or per job/task.

You won’t have to cover their benefits either. The amount you pay per hour or per task is all-inclusive, and it’s also very affordable.

Further to that, working with virtual employees as opposed to permanent ones also gives you flexibility. You’ll be able to forecast whether you’ll need someone’s services or not. If not, no worries, meaning no dead weight. You only hire when their expertise is required.

Through employing freelancers, you can have a whole team of expert individuals on call, using them when and where you need them. In the digital world, it is most definitely the way to go.

virtual team video call

Investing in Digital Infrastructure

When migrating to a virtual business, you’ll need to invest in digital infrastructure, as in the right tools to get you fully operational. Besides a virtual team, you’ll need an in-depth digital marketing strategy because this is where your lead generation and client prospecting will take place.  People aren’t looking for advisors in the Yellow Pages anymore!

Your audience lives online, and so this is where you’ll need to engage with them. My advice is to first build out the foundation yourself.  It will take a bit of time and effort but is necessary for so many reasons.  But eventually you will want to outsource these services. Getting up to speed with how marketing works is no easy feat as it is incredibly strategic. Your expertise is financial advice and planning, and that is what you should focus on. Instead, use the infinite amount of online resources available to build a virtual team that can take care of what you currently cannot.

By using the virtual model to your advantage, you will be working with the most experienced and knowledgeable individuals to help get your digital practice off the ground.

If this migration seems a little too daunting to you, don’t stress! I’ve designed a virtual advisor system called Conneqtor to help guide you every step of the way. It will train you on lead generation, virtual practice management, and digital marketing, etc., etc., etc.

It’s simple and will enable you to dominate as a virtual financial advisor in the digital world. Download our free eBook to get started.

I hope you enjoyed reading this article!

Kind regards,

Derek Notman

Virtual Practice Management for Financial Advisors

virtual practice management from anywhere

Now that you are embracing the virtual financial advisor model, you are going to need to equip yourself with a few imperative tools and adopt some powerful approaches for successful virtual practice management.

Practice Management vs Virtual Practice Management

When I refer to virtual practice management, I’m talking about operating as a virtual financial advisor in a fully functional way from the comfort of your own home, co-working space, etc. As we have come to rapidly learn, being productive remotely is entirely possible, and doing so as an advisor is no different.

Sustaining success virtually will take some adapting sure, but with the right systems in place, you will be up and running in no time. Let us take a look at how.

Build A Virtual Team

The world is evolving quickly, and the financial planning industry is actually one of the last to switch on and adapt. Virtual teams have been a possibility for years now with almost every kind of individual with any type of expertise readily available on a freelance or service, fully remote basis.

Before COVID-19, most virtual financial advisors still ran a brick and mortar office, but the pandemic has probably forced you to work remotely, and as such, prompted you to relook at your business from an operational point of view.

You may be a little overwhelmed right now, but trust me, this sudden change is actually an excellent and much-needed shift.

Now you can build an entirely virtual team that will result in a more financially viable way of running your practice. You can collaborate with more people, working with specialized individuals when and where you need them right across the globe. That’s the beauty with a virtual team – nothing’s permanent, and they charge by the hour or job.

build a virtual team

You’ll also save on not having to fork out for your virtual employee’s workspace; it’s their responsibility to purchase a computer, desk, chair, internet connection, and whatever other office supplies are necessary – you just pay for their services and expertise. You will reap the benefits of these savings immediately, not to mention that you won’t have to pay for a physical practice. So, no rent, no permanent salaries – that’s good going!

Further to significant savings, hiring virtual employees also means the output of your business can grow exponentially! Suppose you are based in Boston and hire a virtual employee in Cape Town, South Africa. In that case, you’ll have someone working around the clock and after regular business hours, even when you’re asleep – a massive increase in productivity!

The best part? There’s a massive demand for virtual advisory services – we’re all having to embrace technology now.

Adopt A Virtual Sales Process

Having the right digital infrastructure in place is imperative so that you can communicate with your virtual staff and with clients, all while protecting your and their data.

With the brick and mortar model, you would use a physical location for sales meetings or, even worse, go to a client’s home at night! But now you can conduct virtual in-home appointments. Assuming you have a website, you can set up a scheduling tool on your site, enabling customers to set up virtual meetings online that sync with your calendar.

You can conduct meetings as you usually would, only now it will be through an app like Zoom, FreeConferenceCall, or Skype. As I have mentioned before, younger generations such as Gen Z and Millennials much prefer it, and it will save you time and any awkwardness that comes with visiting clients at their homes after hours.

Prospect Through Digital Marketing

Ok, so selling is one thing, but what about prospecting? Well, in short, your prospecting becomes digital marketing. Your entire audience lives online, and now that you are adopting the virtual financial planning model, this is where you are going to find them.

First impressions are more important than ever, so you have to plan your content and design your messaging. Research is critical initially, but once you have established a brand voice, have a prominent presence, and are seeing high engagement, you’ll be so busy that you will just have to hire more virtual staff.

Speaking of hiring more virtual staff, doing so will prove hugely beneficial if you outsource your business’s digital marketing side. It’s not as simple as it seems. You can’t just post an update every once in a while and expect to see results – you’ll need an individual or team that has a deep understanding of digital strategy in order for it to truly work.

generating prospects by ranking higher

Stay Up to Date with Technology

Once you stop fearing technology and embrace it, you will come to realize very quickly how useful it is. You can streamline all your mundane tasks, work with people from anywhere on earth, and, what’s more, integrate all of your tools together seamlessly.

Your email and calendar can be synced to your collaboration tool for everyone on your team, making life so much easier. If you take Google Suite, for example, it’s quite literally a one-stop-shop for business administration.

Becoming a virtual financial advisor does take a bit of time, though, as well as a little help. This is one of the reasons I created The Virtual Advisor System, Conneqtor. It’s a cutting edge, lead generation, digital marketing, and virtual financial planning practice training system that will accelerate your adaptation to dominate in the digital world we now live in. Again, technology! I was able to take my understanding and experience of adopting a digital financial planning model and create a system that will show you exactly how to do the same, step by step.

Download my free eBook to find out more about becoming a successful virtual financial advisor, starting today.

I hope you enjoyed the article!

Regards,

Derek Notman

The Importance of Robust Digital Infrastructure for Financial Advisors in a Virtual World

robust digital infrastructure

When I refer to a robust digital infrastructure, I am talking about the tools and strategic plan you’ll need to thrive as a financial advisor in a virtual world – technological capabilities and efforts imperative to your success.

Even though modern-day consumers have been using online banking and mobile applications for years, the concept of online financial advisors is still relatively fresh, although quickly becoming a demand and the norm.

The question is, how do you cater to that demand, how do you make your target audience aware of your services? You do by creating a robust digital footprint. And how do you create a robust digital footprint, you ask? By implementing the following crucial online efforts, which form the foundation of your robust digital infrastructure:

Be Social

When it comes to brand awareness, your social media efforts are critical to building your digital infrastructure – this cannot be undervalued. Without a proper social media plan, no one will ever know about your business.

linkedin social media posts for financial advisors

An effective social media plan consists of:

  • Soft marketing
  • Brand awareness
  • Talking about solutions and benefits of the work you do to your target audience
  • Actively engaging with others content regularly
  • Posting about live seminars and webinars relevant to your brand or that you have created yourself
  • Being genuine and transparent with your audience
  • Growing your network
  • Positioning yourself as a thought leader
  • The blending of personal and business social profiles and content
  • Frequently sending direct, personalized messages to your ideal client to build a relationship, not pitch!
  • Collecting email addresses, in exchange for content of value (eBooks, etc.) by directing people to your other channels
  • Video posts (better for engagement)

The whole point of social media is to educate your audience and stay away from pushy sales and products.

Host Live Virtual Seminars

By creating virtual seminars that dive deep into your brand and services, you can engage directly with your audience through live Q&As. You can also record them and post across your social media channels later, resulting in helpful content.

When it comes to the kind of content, you can create multiple presentations for specific topics and, in turn, breakdown and serve your target audience even more. Your virtual seminars can also be used as free giveaways (downloadable), strengthening your relationship and connection with prospective clients.

Have A Clean & Transparent Website

As I’ve highlighted before in previous posts, you can host all your content on your website; this will drive SEO efforts and become your “home” online. Be sure to regularly update it with new content to keep your audience engaged.

Clients should be able to book an appointment with you through your website too, which can be managed through an embedded calendar.

The possibilities are endless, but ensure that your website clearly states who you are, what you offer, and whatever you do don’t forget to list your prices – highlight your purpose.

Build A Mailing List

Now that you are creating excellent content, you can use giveaways (free downloads) to get prospective clients to sign up for your mailing list. For example, you give them a free webinar, seminar, or eBook, and they have to sign up to download it.

The benefit of building a mailing list as that you can retarget to people that you know for sure are already interested in your service offering.

Invest in Paid Ads

A whole other ballgame, but incredibly effective. With paid ads, you can also create an “ideal client” audience to market to.

Paid ads are a necessary investment, but they aren’t cheap. They do, however, garner instant results (you get what you pay for).

Paid ads essentially drive more traffic to your website from search engines such as Google or Yahoo, meaning that the traffic is relevant. For instance, if someone types “Virtual Financial Advisor” into Google, you could potentially (depending on how relevant your content is, and how much budget you have) be the first result that comes up.

This is something you don’t need to do right off the bat, build a solid foundation of digital infrastructure first, otherwise you are throwing digital spaghetti at the wall!

Build Relationships with Other Industry Players

By forming relationships with other industry players, they can potentially become what I like to call “referral partners.”

xy advisor podcast

You can achieve this by guest blogging on another brand’s website, featuring on a relevant podcast, or generating backlinks to your own blogs. Backlinking, in particular, is super useful for building the credibility of your website. When one of your “referral partners” link back to your blog, and they have a high trust score, your content automatically becomes more trustworthy in the eyes of Google.

These relationships are strategic and should be beneficial to both parties.

In a nutshell, being relevant and visible is accomplished by being active online with engaging and highly valuable contributions to your specific industry.

Alright, that’s it for now! I hope you enjoyed reading my insight into the importance of robust digital infrastructure for financial advisors in a virtual world.

To dominate the digital space as a financial advisor, find out more about my virtual advisory system Conneqtor – it’ll transform your business.  Hint hint, we teach advisors how to do all of this in our virtual advisor system…..

Kind regards,

Derek Notman.

Virtual Practice Management for Financial Advisors – The Advisor Lab

virtual practice management for financial advisors podcast

Practice management for financial advisors is and always will be the process of equipping financial advisors with the tools and processes required to not only run an advisory business, but more importantly achieve optimal results now and in the future.

Enter COVID-19, where brick and mortar advisors are left dead in their tracks without an effective way to build or run their practice.

Why? Because financial advisors are still stuck in, as well as being taught the outdated traditional methods of 1985 (with a minor software update here and there).

virtual practice management for advisors here to stay advisor lab

Is Virtual Practice Management for Financial Advisors here to stay?

Derek recently featured on the Advisor Lab podcast by the Seven Group and explored the future of practice management for financial advisors. The podcast explores how Derek runs his practice, how he manages it completely remotely, as well as how he uses digital marketing to connect and engage prospects.

Listen to the podcast below

Long Term vs Short Term Financial Practice Management

The truth is that the days of cold calling, being a prospecting pirate, and focussing on short term sales are gone. Now more than ever, short term prospecting produces an eat what you kill environment that is really stressful – it just isn’t sustainable anymore.

Advisors need to shift their attention from the sale to their audience. Building a brand over time and providing genuine value to clients at multiple online touch points will result in your brand working for you over time. When your brand works for you, you’ll see an influx of more clients. The secret to virtual practice management? Relationships, relationships, relationships!

With this in mind, Derek has created a Virtual Advisor System that operates as an inbound client acquisition model for building a robust digital footprint.

Practice Management for Financial Advisors Using a Robust Digital Footprint

The Virtual Advisor System has made practice management easy for advisors by making the pillars of inbound client acquisition accessible in the form of valuable course content and more. These practical pillars include:

  • Social Media Marketing & Management.
  • Hosting Live Virtual Seminars.
  • Website Build and Optimisation.
  • Email Marketing.
  • Paid Advertising.
  • Referral Partners.

If you want to learn more about how the Virtual Advisor System can work for you, then we recommend getting started with our free e-book.

How Technology is Transforming the Financial Advisory Practice

technology for your financial practice

COVID-19 has forced us all into an experiment.  A “virtual” experiment where all of us had to go digital. We have had to embrace communicating virtually and have no choice but to conduct business online. The effects on the traditional financial advisory practice are obvious.

Whether a result of the pandemic or younger generations coming of age, according to the founder of The Rudin Group, April Rudin, in a recent article in ThinkAdvisor, 64% of high-net-worth individuals are counting on their future financial advisor relationship to be entirely digital.

For the financial advisory industry & practice, technological disruption is actually a positive thing; we are no longer limited by location, or, in fact, the high capital demands of the traditional brick & mortar office model.

As a driver toward the adoption of digitalisation, coronavirus has allowed us to test some of the digital processes that were more than likely only part of future plans – and guess what? It works well – incredibly so.

I took the leap over six years ago, being one of the pioneers of virtual financial advisory, and back then there was a lot of trial and error – many were not onboard with the idea. Slowly but surely though, my clients soon realised how much simpler it is.

Receiving advice or giving advice from the comfort of your own home is easy, and you save a great deal on overhead.

Embracing digitalisation has certainly been the silver lining amidst the these trying times. Here are some of the major transformations I have seen, combined with some insight from April Rudin.

embracing digitisation

You Have the Ability to Shape Your Next-Gen Clients’ Perceptions

For the next generation, the financial & societal impacts of the pandemic are the first monetary relationship crises they have ever been through.  How will they react? How will it impact how they perceive planning, investing, and saving?

Their future is in your hands; you have the power to influence their perception. You can shape it virtually – more like a partnership as opposed to the advisor/client relationship we have seen in the past.

This power, or influence rather, is a great responsibility. By becoming more accessible to your clients, your relationship grows deeper – meaning your approach needs to be more holistic.

Relationships Are More Important Than Ever

When strategizing for the future, virtual financial advisors need to focus on building relationships. Relationships are no longer based on financial return only – they are based on overall advice; giving clients direction – how they should spend their money and what decisions are best for securing their ideal future.

zoom call with financial advisor

Your Online Presence Needs to Be More Compelling

As I have mentioned in previous articles, your presence online is the most vital aspect of being successful as we emerge into the new normal.

Your website cannot simply state your service offerings and a bit of a background like before. If you are to survive as the next generation comes of age, your story, what you offer and how you advise needs to resonate with your audience. Your website is where you live – your new head office, your digital storefront, and the internet is where your client’s shop. Your website is essentially your practice now, and all your communication and activity online needs to align with that. This is what the next generation requires.

You need to tailor your approach to make your clients’ experience more personal. It is time to revaluate your brand.

Further to this, social media has become social selling and is a great opportunity for you to grow and expand your business. It is more about building relationships rather than acquiring clients.

You will Need to Help Your Clients Build A New Kind of Life

Gen Xers and Millennials are opposed to working tirelessly now, only to live life to the full in their twilight years. You will be required to help them build a life that looks a lot different than previous generations.

Next-generation clients are accustomed to moving quickly, switching jobs almost annually, and using technology in absolutely everything they do. They want to build lives centred around a combination of exiting life experiences now while balancing for the future, rather than working hard now and retiring at age 65.

Try Conneqtor

If you are feeling overwhelmed by the impact technology is having on your business, consider Conneqtor. My virtual advisor system offers a hand-in-hand, step-by-step guided migration to a virtual financial planning practice that operates like a virtual sales engine, bringing in leads to you through a robust digital marketing footprint.

It is time to adapt. Afterall, the impact technology has had on the financial advisory practice is permanent; there is no going back.  Human behaviour has changed.

Stay ahead of the curve.

I hope you enjoyed reading.  Want more?  Check out my eBook, The Virtual Movement Proclamation.

Kind regards,

Derek Notman