Making the seemingly impersonal, personal: Using technology to connect with clients and prospects

Technology

Making the seemingly impersonal, personal: Using technology to connect with clients and prospects

Financial advising is and has always been a relationship-based business. Here is how some advisors are using technology to enhance communication.

Financial advising is and has always been a relationship-based business. Client communication is a cornerstone of every practice. Face-to-face, handshake-to-handshake, person-to-person. Yet smartphones, tablets and laptops are so prevalent today that, for many, one or all of them have become a primary means for communication.

Here is how some advisors are using technology to enhance communication with clients and prospects:

Websites: There’s no place like home(page)

Bryan Sweet of Sweet Financial Services in Fairmont, Minnesota, says his website is one of his most effective communication tools.

“It’s what people go to first when they want to learn more about you and your practice,” says Sweet, whose website includes a professionally produced video introduction of his practice. The site is optimized for viewing on any device, and it includes a customized app that clients can download to receive timely notices and contact Sweet’s team.

More advisors are using social media to direct people to their websites and show a bit of their personality. Sharing information like community service and upcoming client events on your website may also attract more visitors to learn more about you.

Client communications plans: Keep it going

Whether it’s just to say hello or a time-sensitive call to action, many advisors use technology to keep communication lines open.

“As basic as it is, email revolutionized how we communicate with clients,” said Mark Thompson, an independent advisor and member of Raymond James’ Technology Advisory Council. “And when you add CRM software your productivity can grow tenfold.”

Thompson uses his CRM system to track all his communications with clients and store information like birthdays, anniversaries and other life events. It allows him to create “wow” moments by sending timely birthday wishes and congratulations, and quickly being able to reference earlier conversations with clients.

Eliot Weissberg, branch manager of The Investors Center, Inc. in Avon, Connecticut, uses the interactive technology on his website as a means to get personal with clients.

“We walk through our website with our clients to teach them how to use our technology to be better investors,” says Weissberg. “It’s quality time spent with clients and it adds value to what we do.”

Client meetings: Being there

Phillip Rademacher, an advisor in Lawrence, Kansas, says the collaborative nature of goal planning software is a great way to bring clients closer.

“I work with a lot of investors who like to see everything in one place, and goal planning software does that,” says Rademacher.

Another mode of communication gaining more popularity among advisors is online video meetings.

“The video component of online meeting sites allows me to see clients react to what I say,” says Rademacher. “If there is confusion, I can see it right away and clarify.”

Keeping it real

Thompson says that incorporating available technology into your practice doesn’t require a high level of tech savviness, just a willingness to adapt.

“The quicker you make technology your ally, the quicker you’ll see the benefits,” says Thompson. “Just keep in mind, it’s the personal connection that the client needs. It’s the relationship that’s important, and technology should support the relationship.”  



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