Face-to-face business meetings are out of the question for the foreseeable future for most Americans. With the first quarter of 2020 having come to an end on March 31 in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, financial advisors will likely not be able to meet with clients for quarterly updates in person.
Nevertheless, the inability to meet in person doesn’t necessarily doom quarterly meetings. Thanks to modern technology solutions, advisors can have extremely meaningful and productive interactions with clients remotely.
If advisors utilize videoconferencing tools such as Zoom or WebEx for quarterly check-ins, they can share their screens with clients as they run planning scenarios, explain reports and charts, demonstrate the likely impact of potential trades on an investment portfolio, and more.
Below are some additional best practices to ensure your quarterly meetings with clients are seamless and successful engagements:
- Give Clients Enough Time to Review Quarterly Reports: Quarterly meetings are most productive when both the advisor and client are fully engaged and familiar with report content. If clients receive quarterly reports just a day before check-ins with their advisors, they won’t have long enough to sit down, go over the entire report, and formulate questions and comments to share during the meeting. Try to email links to quarterly reports in your portfolio management technology platform’s client portal to clients at least a week before the meeting, and send a text or email reminding them to review their reports at least two days ahead of the check-in.
- Set Aside Time for Tax Planning: With Tax Day officially postponed this year until July 15, advisors can take some time to address any questions clients may have about their filings. Advisors can also discuss opportunities for tax-loss harvesting during the quarter, and tax-smart investment strategies that can be pursued going forward.
- Review Financial Plans & Budgets: The coronavirus outbreak led to particularly volatile market conditions at the end of the last quarter, which have continued into the beginning of the present quarter. Now that the initial fear and panic have subsided, advisors can take extra time during their scheduled quarterly check-ins to review clients’ financial plans, and depending on clients’ circumstances, discuss changes that may need to be made in light of recent developments. If clients have had to significantly adjust their spending habits while staying and working from home, advisors can utilize budgeting tools during quarterly check-ins to optimize or streamline household budgets.
- Invite Clients’ Spouses & Children to Participate: Everyone is feeling the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak and the business and school shutdowns it has caused. This presents advisors with an opportunity to foster stronger relationships with their clients’ spouses and children. Advisors can encourage clients to invite their loved ones to join them in front of their computer cameras, or remotely, during their scheduled quarterly check-ins, so they can express their own financial concerns and ask relevant questions. If clients are seeking activities to keep their children busy while schools are closed, advisors can recommend online financial literacy programs that can help students develop awareness of the importance of wealth planning and saving—and even walk them through one of the lessons during the quarterly meeting.
Remote meetings via videoconference can be just as productive and engaging as in-person discussions. While we are living in extraordinary times, advisors can seize the opportunity to go deeper and demonstrate even more value to clients during quarterly meetings when face-to-face interaction isn’t possible.
By Kevin McCrossin, Senior Director, Business Development