By Suzanne Patrick-Lawrence
It’s been over a year since we went into our first lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. With the recent increases in vaccine distribution, we’re hopefully nearing the end of the nightmare we’ve been living for the past year.
But, of course, the pandemic will continue to have far-reaching effects on most aspects of our lives. A possible silver lining to the tragedies, challenges, and inconveniences of the pandemic is the increased ability—and subsequent popularity—to work and serve clients virtually.
Advantages To Virtual Business
Taking your firm virtual, as with anything, has its advantages and disadvantages. Many of us (myself included) miss the personal touch and connection that in-person meetings provide. Nothing can truly replace the experience of sharing a cup of coffee or developing a trusting relationship over lunch in a favorite restaurant. For financial advisors, successful personal communications and connections have always been key to a successful relationship.
But the ability to meet and serve clients virtually also cannot be understated. With the technological capability to hold face-to-face meetings virtually, we can expand our businesses to change the lives of clients we might never otherwise have had access to. People all over the nation may be well-suited to our specific specialties and services, and now we have the means to reach them.
Working remotely may also benefit local clients because virtual options give them more flexibility to meet with us. If clients no longer have to drive 30 to 60 minutes for a meeting, they may be more likely to reach out with questions and concerns as scenarios arise. If clients contact us more frequently with questions or life updates, they may be more likely to achieve their goals.
Additionally, working virtually has changed the face of networking groups. Before COVID, it was common for teams to send members to local in-person networking groups. In the virtual world, people can now network with anyone around the world, so meeting referral partners and potential clients is easier than ever.
The Reality Of Zoom Burnout
It’s no secret that videoconferencing tools such as Zoom or Google Meet are the best alternatives to face-to-face meetings. Just as with in-person interactions, video calls allow us to read body language, gauge reactions and comfort level with the conversation, and view facial expressions. With these tools, we can continue working virtually without sacrificing the personal relationships we’re accustomed to developing.
But that’s not to say that virtual meetings are all sunshine and rainbows. We’ve recently heard some of our own team members say things like “I’m all Zoomed out,” so it’s important to remember that an abundance of Zoom interactions can cause even the most motivated team to join virtual meetings with dread.
To handle the reality of Zoom burnout, we recommend instituting the following guidelines for your team:
- Don’t schedule back-to-back Zoom meetings when possible.
- Don’t multitask during Zoom meetings. Give your Zoom partners your full attention.
- Turn off your camera when you need to, as appropriate with the meeting format.
- Improve written communications and memos to reduce the number of team meetings.
- Set meeting end times—and stick to them.
With these guidelines and boundaries, you can reduce the impact of Zoom fatigue on your team members, your clients, and yourself. And remember, it will take time to fully adapt to our new normal—whatever that may look like weeks from now or a year from now.
How To Thrive In A Virtual Environment
We believe the best virtual advisors are flexible and open to learning new technologies and systems as needed. Many of us have discovered that our at-home internet connections are not quite as reliable as our office connections. And when we’re working from home, we unfortunately don’t have an in-house IT team we can call on to troubleshoot our problems (apart from those of us with tech-savvy teenagers).
Therefore, top advisors will have to learn how to navigate these technologies themselves. Switching to majority virtual meetings is naturally going to come with unforeseen challenges, but the most successful virtual advisors welcome those challenges and look forward to finding solutions that work best for themselves and their clients.
How We Help
If you’re transitioning to working virtually and find yourself overwhelmed with the new challenges, the team at Advisor Business Solutions is here to guide you as you navigate this change. We work with dozens of financial advisors to help them be more efficient in areas ranging from acquiring more clients to planning your exit strategy, and everything in between.
No matter your goals for your financial advisory firm, we’re here to help you succeed. Take the first step and reach out to us by calling 562-439-4804 or emailing [email protected] to learn how we can assist you.
Suzanne Patrick-Lawrence is president and CEO of Advisor Business Solutions. She is a business planning and communications specialist with over 20 years of experience developing business and marketing strategies for financial services, global corporations, government agencies, nonprofits, and small businesses. She is passionate about working with financial advisor practices seeking guidance, support, and structure to position their firms for a successful transition. To learn more about Suzanne, connect with her on LinkedIn.