Virtual Financial Advisor: Two Ways To Enhance Your Virtual Meetings
When we had to go virtual in 2020, we made a few big changes to our meetings. This move to virtual went a lot better than I thought it would, and a big part of that was being adaptable. The changes I’m going to share are specifically for Zoom meetings, and we do these things when meeting with clients and also prospective clients.
Change 1: Make the meetings shorter
When we were doing meetings pre-pandemic, we really wanted to pack in as much value as we could because the client was taking the time to drive out to our office. We would cover everything that they needed during one meeting, and usually meetings would last an hour and a half, sometimes up to three hours. Now it wasn't all just financial talk. A lot was catching up and social talk and things like that. But, still, the meetings were long because we thought we had to make it that way.
Once we moved to virtual, we found that clients and prospective clients had a harder time staying engaged via Zoom or video conference for more than about 45 minutes. Some were okay with it, but many, they started to zone a little bit more after looking at the screen for an extended period of time—especially when talking about financial things, which isn’t always the most exciting for some people.
To counteract this, we purposefully made these meetings shorter, aiming for 30 minutes and, at the most, 45 minutes. The nice thing about making these meetings shorter is that it ended up being a lot less prep time for us. If we didn't know an answer or if there was an impromptu change to their plan that they brought up in the meeting, we didn't have to fix it right then. We could schedule another virtual meeting for the following week, or two weeks out, and then have an updated plan that we reviewed at that time. Usually that second meeting was just 10 to 15 minutes focused on one very specific thing. So, it really made it easier when it came to prep time.
And the clients responded well to the follow-up meetings. They felt good that they received what they needed and there was value in the time spent.
Change 2: More frequent contact points
Although we aren’t having face-to-face meetings, we still wanted to keep the social aspect and the ability to build relationships over time. And since when we do meet it’s for shorter time, we also started to spread out the topics that we wanted to cover over a period of months, rather than trying to get it all in one meeting. This allowed us and our clients to focus on the most important next step to improve their financial life, and not get overwhelmed in the actual meeting if we’re trying to cover too many topics at once.
The way we increased the social contact between Zoom meetings is just by phone call. And it’s little things, completely social, not related to financial matters at all. We’d call to say Happy Birthday, or to see how their granddaughter’s birthday went, or something like that. The goal of these phone calls is really just to build a relationship on the social side.
Change 3: Use drawings
The final thing that really made a big impact on these virtual meetings was drawing simple sketches in the middle of the meeting. All the advisors at our firm, Streamline Financial, got Apple Pencils and iPads. This allowed us to present through Zoom directly on the iPad and it made a big difference. It helped our clients and prospective clients feel like they're in the same room as us and be more engaged. We found that when we can draw something in simple terms, even through Zoom, we actually draw people in. They pay closer attention, they understand it more fully when it's in picture form, and it really just made things a lot smoother when explaining things to our clients and prospective clients.