As the demand for long-term leases for office space completely crumbles under the COVID-19 pandemic, so too has the need for in-person meetings, at least for now.
According to VOX, the demand for coworking spaces will increase once we start to recover from this, but offices will never be the same. It will likely be a long time before financial advisors can meet with their clients one-on-one again, at least in person as the consumer is now more than ever comfortable with virtual meetings and will probably prefer them over the old belly-to-belly ways of the past.
If in-person meetings do happen, they are likely to take place at coworking spaces that are equipped with all the necessary measures for hygiene and safety. So, what does the “new normal” look like for financial advisors?
It appears the sooner financial advisors embrace the virtual practice model, the better. Becoming a Virtual Financial Advisor, in my humble opinion and experience, is the only way for work to continue, and for your business to flourish like never before. Let’s look at five reasons why.
1. Exponentially Make More Money While Managing Risk
Think about the costs you will cut by taking your practice online? Your overhead will decrease tremendously, and what you save will be directly converted into profit that can be reinvested into scaling your business as well as taken to improve your quality of life now.
If you look at your expenses from before, you were likely spending a lot on travel – getting to and from client meetings via car or domestic flights. With the virtual practice model, you can meet with anyone, anywhere in the world, so long as they have a stable internet connection and a device that can host a video call.
Now think about what you were spending on physical office space. One positive from the pandemic is that clients will not demand in-person meetings anymore, which can save you many thousands of dollars a year while also being able to save your employer (if you are affiliated with a large financial company) between $7,000 – $14,000 per employee, per year, depending on where your headquarters are located.
You will also be managing risk effectively. You won’t be exposing your clients to any unsafe environments, nor will you risk spending money to meet with a prospective client only for them to decline your services.
2. Finding and Working with Bigger More Ideal Clients
Think about the clients you will be able to work with when you switch to a virtual practice model? There are no limits. You can work with the clients of your choice as you will no longer be restricted by your physical location or theirs.
Many advisors stick to their city when taking on new clients, but with the virtual model, having a client that lives on the other side of the country from you is now a real possibility.
You can also pick and choose your clients more easily once you understand how high the demand is for Virtual Financial Advisors online. The virtual model is about more than merely hosting meetings over a webcam online (Zoom meetings DO NOT mean you are a virtual advisor); it’s about automating and turning everything virtual from your physical infrastructure, virtual sales process, staff and even your marketing (prospecting), but without ever picking up the phone or having to travel for in-person meetings.
3. Location Independence and A Virtual Team
When running an entirely virtual office with virtual staff, one thing will always remain—the importance of trust and transparency.
Building relationships on trust has never been more natural thanks to the incredible advancement in technology.
Clients want expert human advice with people they can connect with but do not want to feel like their space is being infringed upon. Remember those times when you would visit a prospective client in their home, after work in the evenings? Let’s be honest, those meetings were never exactly pleasant, were they? It felt like you were intruding. Well, with location-independence, you won’t have to impose ever again. The virtual model allows for a much better life/work balance and the opportunity to enhance the already existing relationships with your clients.
People prefer to do things online, from doctor’s appointments and shopping to studying, counseling, and even dating. It’s about time that financial advisors adopt the same approach.
Think about how many new clients you will get if you shift to the virtual model? Millennials and Gen Z expect this kind of service – it is a requirement.
With a virtual staff, you can take on so many more clients, too – think about how many back-to-back meetings you can have in a day with four or five people helping you remotely? A virtual staff requires no benefits, no supply of office equipment, and no leave payouts.
4. Leveraging Time and Money in The Modern World
People want things fast, and they are willing to pay a premium for instant gratification. If you can deliver your services online and progressively at the convenience of your clients, you can leverage time to make more money. It’s as simple as that.
Physically having to meet with people, either at your office or in their homes, was a slow and tedious approach, and quite frankly dated.
If you are to leverage time and money in the modern world, you are going to need to provide a forward-thinking, cutting-edge service.
5. Living the Life of Your Dreams and Helping Clients Do The Same
What is the core reason behind financial advice? To help people live the life of their dreams and achieve the most with what they have.
Well, now you can do that while freeing up time for yourself to focus on what you love. You can get much more done in a day by embracing the virtual model.
By operating online, you can:
- Have more time with your family
- Have more time to pursue your passions
- Have more time to travel
- Work from anywhere and grow your business simultaneously
- Benefit from incredibly low overhead expenses
- Exponentially grow your revenue
Clients want to work with the best advisor for them, regardless of physical location and with a person who they resonate with from a lifestyle perspective. They, too, will no longer be restricted by their location and without having to include travel costs into your expenses, you can also offer your clients more competitive rates. It’s a win-win situation.
Improving the “advisor experience” will improve the “client experience”, now we all win. Here’s to The Virtual Movement of the Future!