Undoubtedly, these last few months have forced you to expand your capabilities and challenged you to become a better planner and business owner. While virtual client meetings existed pre Covid-19, they were not employed exclusively for most financial advisory firms, and were generally only with clients themselves (not to manage internal team members as well).
But now that in person meetings have shifted virtually, for both clients and prospects, and advisory teams themselves, it can be easy for your newer advisory staff to get lost in the shuffle, which can cause delays in their growth and development.
In this month’s article, we give you three ideas to consider to lessen Zoom fatigue and better integrate your newer financial planners into client meetings now that they have shifted almost exclusively to a virtual setting:
- Position Them As Part Of The Meeting - In the beginning, it is going to be primarily up to you to position (build up) your new planner in the clients’ eyes. Then, eventually, the client will realize they can trust your new planner (especially if you trusted them enough to hire them in the first place). Consider having your newer planner in all meetings, but at the least a great place to start is in the initial onboarding meeting so you can focus on learning about the new client and they can take notes. In a virtual setting, this is even more important, since you have to focus even harder on the prospect to try and detect any breathing, body language, nervous twitching, etc., that is much easier to pick up in an in person setting and takes more focus to catch in a virtual context. The next best thing is to bring your newer planner in during the data gathering/discovery meeting so they can help analyze, organize and ask questions about the client’s situation, and be in a better position to create a more accurate financial plan.
- Get Right To It As Meetings Get Started- Small talk, idle chit chat, and introductions can be a slightly more awkward in a remote setting, but it doesn't have to be. Since everyone is likely experiencing some level of “Zoom fatigue”, you need to find the right balance between personal and professional that can differ between each and every client. Instead of talking about the weather, introduce your team members and reiterate the agenda, time frame, and meeting flow. Here is a sample script to help spur ideas and ensure correct positioning assuming the client/potential client only knows you “Hello, Jane and John, so glad to see you two! Joining us today is my colleague, [insert new planner name], who will be working on your financial plan with me. Did you two have a chance to review the agenda? No, okay. [insert new planner name] would you pull that up please?” [See below for a sample meeting agenda template.].
- Set Meeting Expectations - Send a meeting agenda ahead of time, reconfirming the start time and time limit, including the meeting/phone link, list of who will be joining from your organization, and an overview of the purpose of the meeting. Decide ahead of time who in your firm will explain what agenda item, and control the screen share. It is better to have your new planner running the screen share, so the client/prospect sees them as part of the process even if the new planner’s role is limited, and it is one less thing you have to think about. Always try to set your new planner up for success in giving them opportunities to answer the client/prospective client’s questions that they are able to. If a client asks you something, you can always redirect pretty simply with something like, “[name of recent hire], would you walk them through the initial planning process.” Have your new planner close out the meeting with the recap, to do’s, and follow up items and remind them that the new planner is the point of contact for client questions. Book at least half an hour prior to meeting time and half an hour afterwards. You need some buffer time for last minute preparations, and to ensure someone will be in the video room if the client joins early. Understandably, it might not be feasible to login half an hour early, but at least be prepared to join ten minutes early. You also want some time afterwards to debrief with your new planner while the content is still fresh.
Sample Agenda template
Jane and John Smith Discovery Meeting with Firm Owner and New Financial Planner from Your Financial Planning firm on September 9th 2020 3-4pm ET.
https://teams.microsoft.com/l/meetup-join Toll number: +1 123-456-7899
XXX XXX XXX#
Intro/overview - [Firm Owner]*
Any changes since our last meeting? (if there was a previous meeting)
Discovery Meeting items:
- Goals - [Firm Owner]
- Cash flow - [New Planner]
- Retirement -[New Planner]
- Debt & Liabilities - [New Planner]
- Investments - [New Planner]
- Insurance -[New Planner]
- Miscellaneous - [Firm Owner]
Potential Scenarios for Brainstorming meeting - [New Planner and Firm Owner]
Final Questions/Comments - [Firm Owner and New Planner]
*You can also consider having an internal and external version of the agenda where the person running point is listed internally and not externally if you are not comfortable and/or seek more flexibility depending how the conversation flows.
Integrating someone newer to their career into client engagements can seem like a lot of work, but is necessary for firms seeking to leverage owners’ and senior planners’ time, client relationship scalability, quality of life improvement, profitability, and enhanced client experience. A gradual integration approach allows you to train your own staff with greater experience in an environment that is a benefit and not a risk to the firm.
Caleb & The New Planner Recruiting Team
P.s. Click here to visit our website to download our newest whitepaper “Onboarding and Training New Hires Virtually”