The Brick & Mortar Advisor is Dead. Long Live the Virtual Advisor

the virtual advisor is here to stay

The world is changing so rapidly that soon Google will tell you what you’re going to eat for dinner without you even having to ask it. But one thing remains constant, and that’s the value of human relationships – especially in the Financial Services industry.

We’ve witnessed many changes with the Covid-19 pandemic, but one thing has stood out for me: people’s need for other people, especially family. The pandemic and ensuing global crisis have shown us how vital our social connections are.

Another thing that humans hold very close is their finances. Not just in uncertain times, ALL THE TIME. People have a very personal relationship with their money. One of the most important questions we ask ourselves daily is, “Am I going to be ok, will there be enough to sustain my future?” The world may change, but one thing that won’t is the fact that people will always seek financial advice.

Yes, artificial intelligence (AI) and robo advisors might be able to offer financial advice and strategies at a fraction of the cost, but I would argue you then only get a fraction of the value!

There’s nothing like personal, face to face (virtual or in-person) meetings with another human being who has the knowledge and mind to help guide you. Maybe that’s because human beings have the ability for empathy.  No algorithm can do that!

Through empathy, we can help each other deal with stress (because dealing with our money can be very stressful), guide each other to clarify goals, and assist one another with behavior modification. AI doesn’t do empathy.

So as a financial advisor, will you have a job in the future? The answer is yes. Will you be able to not only sustain but thrive with a brick and mortar operation, the answer is likely no.

The pandemic has made us realize that many businesses can function virtually. They’ve had no choice. Even before the pandemic came upon us, many industries and other professionals started moving away from a brick and mortar model.

Other professionals like lawyers and doctors (especially psychiatrists) have shown that it can be done seamlessly, so why can’t it be done with financial advisors? It most certainly can.

Another reality is that Gen Z and Millennials were born into a virtual world and lead a virtual lifestyle. They want to communicate virtually. Consider this, in years to come, their Gen X and Baby Boomer parents will be leaving them trillions of dollars, and you will want to help them manage these finances.

The only option is to join them by getting on the bus and adopting a virtual way of working.

We are in the midst of a megatrend that is/has literally changed human behavior, either we acknowledge and embrace it or become dinosaurs.

How do we make the most of modern technology without losing our personal touch?

Technology is an amazing thing. It’s been the enabler to effect this change. It has maximized operations and efficiency so that we can spend more time doing other important things – like spending more time on our clients. Virtual advisors can use technology to enhance relationships.

Here are some other benefits to consider before embarking on the path of the virtual advisor:

Minimize Costs

Moving away from a brick and mortar approach not only minimizes costs but can also eradicate them completely. Expenses like rent and utilities can be slashed, and commuting costs can be drastically reduced. The money saved can be spent on other focus areas like marketing and advertising – brand awareness is crucial for credibility and future leads.  Also, think of the “time savings” you will have with even a semi-virtual model, add up the hours you will save!

virtual advisor zoom tech

Safety

In a virtual operation, you have less chance of catching a virus and getting sick or making other people sick. The world is no longer a safe place; if you can still do business and avoid these risks, then consulting virtually is a no brainer.

Permanency

Working virtually means that you’re not tied down to being in the same place. Think of that cabin in the wilderness or beach house near the ocean you’d prefer to work from. Technology has made it a reality.

Flexibility

Virtual advisors can work from anywhere at any time. You can manage your schedule in a way that works for you.

Nurture Family Relationships

More time at home means more time with your family and friends. More time to be able to nurture the valuable relationships in your life.

virtual advisor work life balance

The World Is Your Oyster

Because virtual advisors are no longer limited by geographical boundaries, the pool of possible clientele increases. You don’t need to be in the same place to offer a professional service and excellent financial advice.

These are just a few of the benefits to look forward to in becoming a virtual or semi-virtual advisor. The Virtual Advisor System is here to support you on your journey.

Our solution assists virtual advisors with lead generation and everything else you need to embrace this new way of working. Find out more by downloading our eBook, or purchase the system now and become a virtual advisor today!

Thanks for reading!

Regards,

Derek Notman

How to Build a 100% Virtual Financial Services Practice – The Virtual Advisor Series

how to build a 100% virtual financial services practice

What does the future of financial services look like and what can financial advisors do to help create, as well as benefit from this future? Will the bricks & mortar setup still be relevant in a post-COVID world? Financial advisors might be asking themselves, “How do I build a 100% virtual financial services practice?”

How to Build a 100% Virtual Financial Services Practice

Derek discusses these pertinent questions and more with Vice President of Advisor Development at advisors Excel, Brad Johnson. Brad is committed to helping financial advisors worldwide transition from bricks & mortar to digital during global pandemics and beyond.

It was only fitting that Brad featured Derek on ‘The Virtual Advisor Series‘, since Derek was one of the first financial advisors in the United States to go virtual back in 2013.

The Virtual Advisor Series provides education to financial advisors, on how they can use:

  • Digital marketing to increase sales.
  • A virtual office culture to increase productivity.
  • Leadership to improve operations.
  • Technology to stay ahead of the curve.

Derek and Brad discussed the benefits of a 100% virtual financial services practice, what tools empower advisors in making the transition from bricks and mortar setups easier, what challenges Derek face along the way, and the process of growing a relationship with a potential new client virtually.

Watch the episode with Brad below

If you aren’t familiar or aware of the virtual financial advisor movement then you can learn more about the age of the virtual financial advisor here.

Adopting a Digital Financial Model – The Exponential Era Webcast

the exponential era webcast digital financial model

‘Staying ahead of the curve’; a phrase that has become the new normal as financial advisors from across the world search for new ways to find more ideal clients in a pandemic stricken world.

Beyond the notion of ‘staying ahead of the curve’, what does this concept mean for advisors and how can financial advisors evolve from the traditional bricks-and-mortar setup to not only survive, but thrive in the new world?

The answer? Adopting a digital financial model for your financial practice!

Adopting a Digital Financial Model

Conneqtor founder, Derek Notman recently had the privilege of featuring on the Exponential Era webcast hosted by David Espindola and Michael Wright recently.

The webcast focussed on how adopting a digital financial model allows financial advisors to thrive in a post-COVID world. Since taking his practice virtual in 2013, Derek has been able to:

  • Establish an incredible life-work balance.
  • Generate more ideal clients from virtually anywhere in the world.
  • Increase revenue, while managing risk.

What makes this so possible in a post-COVID world? The consumer is now consuming more virtual content than ever, and feel more comfortable building relationships virtually.

Derek didn’t want to be a slave to his business and believes that every financial advisor should be able to enjoy this reality. Since there was no roadmap for the journey he embarked on in 2013, it took him a while to figure it out. Fast forward to today and Derek is enjoying the spoils of what Conneqtor has to offer and more.

Watch The Exponential Era Webcast by Intercepting Horizons below and dive deep into Derek’s journey as a virtual financial advisor and how COVID-19 affected his business:

 

7 Books Every Virtual Financial Advisor Needs to Read

books that financial advisors should read

As a virtual financial advisor, there are 7 books you simply have to read. With the times we currently find ourselves in, adaptability is key – using the plethora of information available to not only maintain your financial advisory practice but flourish like never before.

I’ve always been an avid reader but the following 6 books are the ones I keep going back to when it comes to business, being virtual, and just rocking at life!

I’ve learned a great deal and have taken the liberty to review the 6 books I’ve read that stick out, books that every virtual financial advisor should be reading in the current climate; for productivity, sales, and a positive mindset.  These books have materially improved my life and business, I simply would not have the success I do today without having had read them.

1.  The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss

Ok, so what about the 4-hour workweek haven’t you heard already? Well, it has never been put in a book like this before. It is fun and easy to read too.

A book about how many of us follow the rules and stick to the system, striving to do the same thing repeatedly for 40+ years, in the hope of a stable lifestyle and a secure retirement.

Tim Ferriss has a straightforward plan for achieving an entirely different kind of life where you take “mini-retirements” throughout your time here on earth.

He gives you a practical plan for setting up an online business (in your case, a virtual financial advisory practice), so you can live a life of balance, the difference between being a business runner and a business owner. The latter giving you much more freedom and time to do what you love.

2.  Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

One of the best books you will ever read about money. A book published in 1937 during the great depression – it’s about convincing yourself that you can be wealthy – that there’s no reason you can’t have exactly what you want.

You can, however, apply the principles in this book to anything in life. To get what you want, you must have the desire, belief, act on these, and then persist. A brilliant and timeless read!

3.  Virtual Freedom by Chris Ducker

You don’t have to go at it alone, nor do you have to spend thousands of dollars on office space and employee benefits. An incredible book for small business owners, virtual financial advisors, and online entrepreneurs on the power of building teams of virtual employees to help run, support, and grow your business.

Going hand in hand with my online system Conneqtor, this read will give you great tips on how to find and manage virtual staff. You should read it directly after you have read the 4-hour workweek by Tim Ferriss.

4.  Social by Matt Lieberman

A book that explores how our need to connect with each other is even more fundamental than our need for shelter or food. Lieberman provides insight into the necessity of human connection.

There are many examples here that you can apply to the relationships you have with your clients—a book for anyone who wants to understand themselves and others better.

5.  The Art of War by Sun Tzu

A book that was written 2500 years ago, yet the information conveyed can be applied to today’s fiercely competitive business scenarios as well.

For example, “In conflict, straightforward actions generally lead to engagement, surprising actions generally lead to victory.”

This read gives insight into how vital discipline, honesty, wisdom, and courage are for everything you come across in life.

6.  Swim with The Sharks by Harvey Mackay

As you transform yourself into a Virtual Financial Advisor, this book will come in handy! An essential read for lead prospecting and selling your services.

He offers a million ideas for being the best businessperson you can be, how the most crucial function of sales is about being relatable with other human beings.

7. Virtual Culture: The Way We Work Doesn’t Work Anymore, a Manifesto by Bryan Miles

Number 7 is one of the most relevant books to any business person, entrepreneur, and most importantly financial advisor at the moment.

Virtual Culture by Bryan Miles explores the outdated reality of our corporate work system and how the rapid transformation of technology continues to evolve the workplace environment.

 

$13.99

Combining these books with my virtual financial advisor system will undoubtedly set you up for success. You have just got to be open to change and, of course, keep persisting.  I highly encourage you to buy the physical books instead of the digital ones.  There is something powerful about having the actual book in your hands, something that stimulates your mind more than a digital copy.

You owe it to yourself to buy, read, and learn from these books.

Thanks for reading!

Warm regards,

Derek Notman

Innovating Advice Podcast: Ditch The Status Quo. Become a Virtual Advisor

innovating advice podcast finding your ideal client

Virtual models of working are becoming more important, as the world continues to makes sense of what the future looks like in a post Covid19 world.

I was privileged enough to feature on episode 27 of the Innovating Advice podcast with Kate Holmes. The episode was titled ‘Ditch The Status Quo And Build Your Ideal Life and Business’.

virtual advisor working and learning remotely

How virtual advisors can build an ideal life and business

When it comes to embracing the virtual model, building trust online can seem daunting but there are certain tools financial advisors can use to grow their business. 

Kate and I discussed how the Virtual Advisor System gives brick-and-mortar financial planners a turnkey solution to making the transition to 100% virtual practice.

CFA’s who are transitioning to the virtual advisor model are experiencing a new normal in terms of ideal life and business. Less overhaul, more revenue, and more time with your family, as well as the ability to work anywhere in the world.

Key takeaways for virtual advsors: Episode 27 of Innovating Advice

  • The benefits of working remotely.
  • Why advisors are hesitant to change, and how they can overcome this.
  • Building trust online.
  • Being the example that resonates with the client: Establishing an awesome life and work balance.
  • How to define your ideal client.
  • The importance of having a strong digital footprint.
  • Deciding what platforms and tools to use.
  • How to provide value through your digital communications.
  • How the Virtual Advisor System can work for you.
  • The most effective apps and tools to enhance your productivity.
  • The importance of focusing on the positive.

I highly recommend you have a listen if you’re a financial advisor wanting to make the transition to a semi or fully virtual model.

If you want to know more about how the Virtual Advisor System can work for you, then download my free e-book here or contact me today.

My purpose is to make sure that virtual advisors feel supported was we navigate this scary new world.

The Age of The Virtual Financial Advisor and COVID-19

The Age of The Virtual Financial Advisor and COVID-19

As we wrestle with a new way of life or try our best to adapt, one thing we have already learned from the COVID-19 pandemic is that many industries can operate remotely.

That’s the thing, with all that is happening in the world, time stands still for no one, and we now have to look at alternative ways to carry on with life, to make a living, but most of all to do everything we can to get through this together.

I like to think of myself as a bit of a pioneer as I embraced operating virtually some time ago already, and I can confidently say that running a virtual financial practice is a viable option in these trying times.

Up until a few years ago, financial planning was mostly based around face-to-face meetings, sitting across from clients, and providing them with financial planning and investment advice.

From client acquisition to client retention, building relationships was done in-person. Now, as we find ourselves amidst a global pandemic, this way of work is no longer possible.

Even when COVID-19 is one day behind us, meeting face-to-face will still seem like an unnecessary aspect of our role in people’s lives. Why would we need to? The rise of technology is creating a new service model for financial planning – the virtual financial advisor.

After transforming my company, Intrepid Wealth Partners, from a financial practice of the old mold into a fully functioning virtual financial practice, I noticed that every part of a financial planner’s role could be fulfilled online.

It makes total sense to use web-based tools and technology to serve clients. In fact, it opens you up to an international client base, because the location doesn’t matter. Further to this, there are huge cost savings, and my work has become more efficient due to the use of incredible technology.

In this article, I’m going to give you an overview of how to build a financial planning practice online. I will highlight the benefits of remote work, not only in the time of Corona but in the 2020s, and I will give you insight into some of the brilliant online tools you can use to make it happen.

Let’s start with the benefits of remote work.

Remote work in the time of Corona and beyond

remote worker

Before we get into building a financial practice online, let’s look at why remote work is the future of many industries, why it’s so beneficial and easy to embrace.

Firstly, remote work affords you the time to focus on yourself and your family a bit more than when running a traditional financial practice.

Secondly, most people love the idea of remote work because it means freedom to run your own schedule; it means being able to get the job done in your own time. Gone are the days of a standard 9-5, 5 days a week way of working. But thirdly, and most importantly, it means that work does not need to be done in a specific place to be executed successfully, which is perfect for serving new-age clientele like millennials generation z.

So, how does this impact the financial planning industry?

Picture this: instead of commuting to an office each day to work from a designated desk, you can execute your projects and design your days so that you can obtain and maintain an awesome life/work balance. In essence, it also makes it a lot more affordable to start your own financial planning practice. With remote work comes a substantial decrease in fixed expenses—the main ones being office space, in-house staff, and money spent on commuting.

You can choose to go forward as a one-person operation, cutting costs significantly, or you can employ people on a part-time basis, virtually, of course! The beauty of remote work is that you only work on-demand, which extends to your employees too. If you only need someone for a few hours a day, then this new way of work has made that possible. You no longer need to commit to giving people full-time employment; you can pay them on an hourly basis.

According to Flexjobs, an employer can save $22,000 per remote worker per year.

So, let’s look a little deeper at how the benefits of remote work will add value to building a successful online business.

Less time commuting

women and men on train platform

Being a virtual financial advisor means less time and money spent commuting, which means you can spend more money on building a stronger, more efficient service, and spend more money on marketing your services. This way, you can surely spend at least 10% of your gross revenue on digital marketing.

Think about how much time you can save as well. For example, let’s say you spend 1 hour a day in the car (driving to and from your office and client meetings), you do this 5 days a week, and you do this 50 weeks a year. Add it all up, and it equals approximately 250 hours a year in the driver’s seat. That is the same as 6.25 40-hour workweeks a year.

Think about this, over 6 40-hour workweeks a year; you are wasting time sitting in your car, that’s crazy!

Think about how much money you spend on gas or even domestic flights to meet with clients in-person, never mind what you spend on accommodation when meeting with clients in other cities? That sum can now go into client acquisition. Plus, marketing a virtual service is much more attractive to younger generations than the brick and mortar financial planning services.

Not having to pay for office space

Ok, so this is a big one. Arguably the most expensive part of running a company is renting office space to accommodate yourself and your employees.

By going virtual, you won’t have to consider the following:

  • Private kitchen
  • 24-hour access
  • Lounge area
  • Meeting rooms
  • Video conferencing
  • Parking
  • Janitorial services
  • Technology for employees such as computers, cellphones, and the internet

As you may know from experience, the price of renting office space varies. An office space per person can start around $300 per month in the US and goes up drastically depending on location and the facilities included.

By working remotely, the money you would have spent on office space can either go directly back into your business, your pocket or even just renting a smaller office for only you. The reality is that one of the first things that cripple a business when money is a little tight is not being able to pay overheads, such as employee salaries and office space.

With remote work, and more specifically by being a virtual financial advisor, you won’t have to worry about any of the above. Yet, you will still be able to deliver the same, if not more efficient and tailored service to your clients.

It quite literally is a win-win option for the future of your business.

Using the tech available to provide better service

Remote work is impossible without the incredible technology available at the click of a button or the swipe of a finger. Technology is what makes being a virtual financial advisor viable.

Here in the US, our Wi-Fi connections and internet infrastructure are the best in the world, so staying connected shouldn’t even be a concern. It is also very affordable.

Thanks to smartphones, cloud computing, instant messaging, and project management software, we can communicate and collaborate instantaneously from most anywhere in the world.

By getting your hands on the necessary technology to operate a virtual financial practice, and keeping up to date with the latest tools, there is nothing that can stop you from being successful.

This leads me to the next step in getting your head around how to build a financial practice online.

Online tools you can use to embrace remote work

virtual financial advisor on a video call

Before we get into some of the spectacular tools available, it is essential to remember that as a virtual financial advisor, you are not changing the advice and services you provide to your clientele. All you are doing is changing the way you communicate with prospects and clients; you are swapping out the kitchen table for a webcam, same advice, and relationship, different medium.

To take your financial planning practice online successfully, all you need to do is convert the brick and mortar way of communicating to a new way of maintaining relationships. You will then need to support this way of communicating with online tools to help you provide your services virtually.

So, let’s look at how you would conduct meetings virtually.

All your meetings are done over means of video chat, and here are some of the most popular tools for communication.

FreeConferenceCall

FreeConferenceCall is a really great tool that I use as my primary virtual meeting tool.

It is easy for me to set up and easy for my clients to click a link and join a meeting. It allows for multiple participants and does not cut the meeting off after a certain amount of time. I can screen share and even give the client control if they want to show me something on their computer. What is also nice is that if for some reason, a client can’t join via a computer, this service also has a call-in number so people can still be part of the conversation.

By far, this is my favorite virtual meeting tool. And yes, as the name implies, it is free!

Skype

You’ve probably used Skype before. As the original video conferencing software, it is the most well-known and widely accepted tool. With Skype, you can make free online calls, use free messaging, and very affordable international calling to mobiles or landlines. What we love most about this tool, though, is it’s Skype for Business feature – the best tool for internal online communication.

So, if you were to build a virtual team in the future, this feature combines instant messaging, video conferencing, calling, and document collaboration into a single, integrated app for effective collaboration.

Zoom

Zoom is excellent for external communication outside of your company. Zoom offers a full-featured Basic Plan for free with unlimited meetings, and there is no trial period. Just keep in mind that the basic plan has a 40 minutes time limit on meetings with three or more total participants. If you decide to pay for it (recommended), you can conduct meetings for as long as you like – perfect for that initial meeting with new clients.

The beauty with Zoom is that you can schedule meetings well in advance and send the exclusive meeting link straight to your clients, or if you have Office 365, you can send them a calendar invite, which automatically syncs with their calendar on their smartphone.

Skype and Zoom are the most widely accepted tools for video communication. Still, you will probably find that for younger clients, FaceTime or a WhatsApp voice call will also work, especially for check-in meetings.

Any other client communication can be done over email or even short video messages via cool tools like Loom.

At the end of the day, as long as both you and your client have a decent internet connection, you can conduct a video meeting with a client – whether it’s from a home office, or even on vacation if needs be.

This way, you can build a business around your life and not the other way around.

Now, let’s look at some of the online tools available for doing the actual work of a financial planner.

Office 365

When it comes to writing and compiling documents, crunching numbers, or creating a presentation, I recommend Office 365 simply because you won’t have to adapt too much. It’s an online version of all of the administrative tools that would usually come with a Windows PC or laptop.

It includes MS Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and more, but what makes it truly valuable is that it’s a brilliant collaboration tool for remote teams. You can have up to five members on one subscription, and with that comes an all-inclusive, synchronized suite for running the administrative side of any business. From email and Skype for Business to OneDrive – which makes the work you do available to you from anywhere—and to others when you collaborate or share. With a subscription, you are also able to download all the apps to your desktops for those that prefer working offline and uploading later.

To understand the extent of what you can do with Office 365, read this in-depth article – there’s a whole lot.

Conneqtor – The Virtual Advisor System

Now that I’ve explained the benefits of remote work and taking your financial planning practice online, ask yourself this: are you ready to join fellow entrepreneurs in the virtual movement of the future?

Conneqtor empowers financial advisors like you to have the ability to:

  • Exponentially make more money while effectively managing risk
  • Work with more prominent and more ideal clientele
  • Work from anywhere in the world while expanding your reach
  • Leverage your time & money to increase performance
  • Live the life of your dreams while helping your clients do the same
  • Achieve and maintain a remarkable life/work balance

I’ve created a turn-key system designed to show you (step-by-step) how to transform your business in a digital world. If you’re wondering what infrastructure you will need to run a virtual financial practice, then this system is your answer.

Conneqtor includes comprehensive guides on the following crucial factors for a successful virtual financial advisor:

  • How to market your virtual financial planning business online
  • How to build a virtual team
  • How to work with your compliance team
  • How to define and vet your “ideal client”
  • How to create an online presence that will drive inbound leads to you 24/7

The new world of work is right before your eyes and at your fingertips, will you take the opportunity? Download our free e-book to find out more.

Thanks for reading!

Cheers,

Derek