As a society, the current pandemic situation has given us a rare glimpse into the future of business, both as individuals and as an industry. While some people and businesses have found comfort in doing things the traditional way, mandatory social distancing has forced many of us to find innovative solutions to these new challenges. Luckily, technology has made this transition relatively easy with a variety of options that help facilitate business in a socially distant environment. Even as the pandemic eases its grip on the world, we may find ourselves re-entering a society that conducts its business a lot differently. In addition, the values and abilities that many clients look for in their financial advisors have changed faster than you can say “Zoom meeting.” Keep reading to explore 7 must-know tips for working with clients in a social distancing environment to help prepare yourself and your practice for the brave new world ahead.
1. Take advantage of e-applications and drop tickets
While, traditionally, using in-person paper applications for everything from new client contracts to asset gathering was the method of choice for advisors, technology has catapulted this process into the 21st century by introducing paperless methods. This comes with a range of benefits, from less time spent filing papers and deciphering handwriting to the more streamlined organization and record keeping. In addition, these modern paper-free methods are extremely attractive to the younger generations, who value ease of application and remote business options much more than their paper-happy parents.
2. Work with companies that do not require face-to-face exams or blood draws
Take the time to research and associate yourself with insurance companies and products that have more innovative exam policies, such as SBLI. These companies remove a lot of the barriers that may prevent busy clients or those concerned about face-to-face visits with an examiner. These new capabilities will transcend fears and overcome delays by offering your clients the option of securing the coverage they need without having to disrupt their schedule for invasive medical exams or blood draws. This is a great “value-added” talking point to discuss with new clients to let them know that you are all about streamlined, safe, and socially responsible service.
3. Use e-delivery
In the old days, snail mail was really the only way to send and receive important documents such as financial reports, statements, and legacy paperwork. The time delays and potential for miscommunication simply came with the territory. However, there are now many options available for advisors and their clients to send, receive, review, and organize vital documentation securely, effectively, and instantly with e-delivery. Take the time to research different virtual document delivery services, and be sure to mention these options to clients both new and old.
4. Reach out to clients & conduct policy audits to match needs with the current situation
As our social climate and business landscape change, it is prudent as advisors to take this time to re-examine the goals and policies of your clients to make sure everything is copacetic and, if it isn’t, to change it. For example, while the original goal of a client may have been to generate additional savings through a cash value life insurance policy, they may now be more concerned with the reality of living on a reduced income and therefore more concerned about a low-cost death benefit. While your clients may not think to come to you and ask for a policy review, they will certainly appreciate an advisor who takes the time to evaluate their evolving goals and make sure everything is on track.
5. Communicate with your clients using no-touch tools
In the past, a lot of emphasis was placed on the benefits of a firm handshake and a face-to-face conversation. However, our current social distancing structure has shown us that we can be just as connected and efficient using virtual technology tools. Video meeting platforms like Zoom have become increasingly popular while formality has fallen by the wayside as younger clients prefer more casual communication via text and email. Additionally, cloud-based client-connectivity software such as LegacyShield offers the benefits of instant, transparent, and secure communications to help streamline and automate processes, all while remaining socially distant.
6. Use this time to ask for referrals and help others restructure their insurance
This pandemic has forced many people to slow down and really think about what matters, both now and in the days to come. With that comes thought of future preparedness or lack thereof. As an advisor, you are in a uniquely helpful position to guide people through this difficult time and help set them up for future success while avoiding current planning pitfalls. It’s important to remain sensitive to the situation as many people are facing uncertain futures, job upheavals, and financial hardships. By reaching out into your network to invite individuals to connect with you and discuss their concerns, you can not only grow your practice but also find fulfillment knowing you used your unique skill set to help your community during an extremely difficult time.
7. Conduct an internal evaluation of your practice, and prepare for market changes
In addition to conducting policy reviews for your clients, take advantage of this time to examine the way your practice runs, and see what you can improve upon and what you need to prepare for. While it is not uncommon for us to get used to doing things the same way year after year, technology continues to offer up innovative tools that you can use to grow your practice and attract more clients today and in the future. Particularly, we recommend taking the time to learn about the Great Wealth Transfer to get ahead of the curve when it comes to attracting and advising the client of tomorrow.