There is no doubt that going digital is a challenge for most, if not a reckoning for many. The key here is to avoid getting overwhelmed. Having said that, there are clear trends in the market: Advisors thriving in the online space are often those who pursued a disciplined new-client strategy well before the pandemic.
Some have managed with video calls, while others have gotten ahead with blogs and podcasts, using multi-media to pull people to their perspectives. Advisors who have floundered in recent months are in large part the late adopters, relying heavily on traditional business development strategies like conferences, speaking engagements and meetups.
Even with digital success, many Financial Advisors fail to actively seek out referrals, and instead just give them. One of the things that works really well is making sure that you have a strong value and client alignment with a COI. Take the time to interview these contacts before entering into an arrangement, and understand where their strengths lie. Conversely, don’t be shy about sharing exactly the types of clients you succeed with. This meaningful discussion builds trust over time, and with consistent interaction can lead to beneficial referrals.
In fact, if you find that you are only giving referrals and not receiving any back, it makes a lot of sense to get to the root of the disconnect. Sometimes, it may be something that can be cleared up quite simply, like your COI being unaware that you are currently accepting new clients, or the perception that a client is not large enough to be referred to you.
These conversations are hardly easy to initiate. However, if negotiated well they can yield immeasurable results, particularly when you are limited by proximity and currently confined to cyberspace. For those who feel that they have missed the virtual boat during the pandemic, the reality is that the bar for digital engagement is low, but the possibility for success is high. Ultimately, asking smart questions and having a human dialogue are all that it takes, combined with a rigorous plan to win trust and earn mutual respect in a way that ensures better business outcomes for all.
To learn more effective practice management tools, and for other savvy virtual tips to help build your business, contact your BMO Global Asset Management Regional Sales Representative.