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

The Perks of Permanency and Flexibility on the Remote Advisory Model

remote work model man working in nature

As I write this, almost 60% of the workforce in the United States of America has the option of remote work in their employment contracts. Workplace Analytics recently completed a survey and came up with the following forecast:

“Our best estimate is that 25-30% of the workforce will be working-from-home multiple days a week by the end of 2021.” – Kate Lister, President of Global Workplace Analytics

The whole world has had to adapt, and from a financial advisor’s perspective, this is hugely positive. For us, it means that we will cut down on costs dramatically, and we’ll be able to serve our clients when and how we (and they) want to.

When I refer to permanency, I am talking about the fact that you’ll be able to work from anywhere in the world, at any time of day, and for anyone you wish to, even if lockdowns continue indefinitely. A beach house? A cabin in the woods? Do you want to work in two different cities a year so that no matter what, it’s always summer? All good so long as you have a decent internet connection and the right infrastructure! The only thing I can think of that would stop you from working is a major technological shutdown, and if that happens well then, we all might as well just pack it in.

So, let’s look at some of the perks of the Remote Advisory Model.

Hiring New Staff Has Never Been Simpler

Communication is so easy to manage, given the tech at our fingertips. You can now hire staff at a cheaper rate, per hour and without having to fork out for any of their infrastructures. The remote advisory model has no geographic boundaries, meaning you can hire people from anywhere in the world.

Being able to hire international employees also means your virtual financial planning practice can run 24/7. If you have people representing your business in multiple time zones, your profits will increase exponentially.

remote model virtual recruitment

Remote work models increase productivity

Another reference from that Workplace Analytics article suggests that remote workers produce 43% more output than their 9-5 counterparts. So not only can your business grow significantly, but you’ll also have a much more productive team working for you. Oh, did I mention that your employees will be a lot happier too? By embracing the remote advisory model, you’re promoting a healthy work/life balance.

The same goes for you too!

A Healthy Work/Life Balance

You can now maintain a greater balance between your personal life and your responsibilities as a business owner.

Rather than having to work all day and visit clients in the evening after hours at their homes, you are freeing up your time to focus on other things that interest you. Have you always wanted to renovate a boat? Do you want to pursue a passion project or even spend time with your kids in the afternoons? Well, now you can – it’s all about time management.

working remotely has this dad enjoying time with his child in the autumn leaves

Being genuinely flexible allows you to live a fuller, more rewarding life.

Furthermore, a flexible schedule lowers stress and strengthens your output.

Retaining Employees Is No Longer an Issue

With the remote work model, you don’t have to have a single permanent employee if you don’t want to. You can quite literally run a business with a freelance workforce. Think about how expensive your hiring process is. With all of the online platforms for hiring freelancers now available, you cut those costs entirely. You pay per hour, per task, or project – no strings attached.

In fact, hiring freelancers is highly cost-effective as you only pay for their services. Are you looking for an expert in something out of your experience? No problem – you can find any professional online.

There’s another added benefit here – a truly diverse team.

More Creativity

When you bring a group of people together who have unique perspectives and backgrounds, it results in a more innovative workforce. If you have an idea, you can brainstorm with your team members, and receive much fascinating insight from them.

Think about how different the perspective of a junior financial advisor from California is to that of a digital marketer from Amsterdam, for instance? A diversified team can only be a positive step forward for your practice.

Technology to Better Serve Your Ideal Client

From building an easy-to-navigate website to promoting your services online, anything is possible in the digital age. You can even embed code into your website that syncs with your calendar to allow clients to book their own appointments. Your online presence becomes your new overhead cost (investment), and it’s a whole lot cheaper than office space and continuous travel expenses.

You’ll need to invest in software and perhaps a team of expert individuals to take your digital footprint to the next level. Fear not; it will most definitely result in more lead conversions.

A Fraction of The Cost

You won’t have to pay for electricity, water, office supplies, or furniture with the remote advisory model. You won’t have to pay for employee benefits or travel either.

It’s a no-brainer!  Haven’t read our Virtual Proclamation eBook yet?  Get it here for free and find out how you can start migrating to a fully remote financial practice today.

I hope you enjoyed reading this!

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 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

The Importance of Working Virtually in Today’s Modern Age – Webinar Replay

the importance of working virtually in todays modern world

I hosted this webinar just before most of the world went into complete lockdown. It was incredibly to see so many advisors ready to begin working virtually. The webinar focussed on the challenges we face when clinging onto the working model of the old school advisor, otherwise known as the brick and mortar model.

The Importance of the Virtual Model Today and in The Future

the importance of working virtually

I explored the importance of working virtually completely as well as from a semi-virtual model, with over 100 advisors. We were all able to understanding the benefits of a virtual or semi-virtual model today and for the future.

I created this webinar to introduce the virtual model and the Virtual Advisor System. It was made for financial advisors, by an active financial advisor so that we can succeed in what already is ‘the new world’.

Common questions about working virtually

common questions about working virtually

The Virtual Advisor System is a turn-key solution that will empower financial advisors with a virtual framework.

The virtual model is the wave of the future for financial advisors. Covid19 has made that wave bigger and faster. This webinar will ensure that financial advisors can catch that wave with ease and ride it in style.

Want to learn how to ride the virtual wave? Lets make it happen right here.