As a financial advisor have you considered transitioning to a virtual and remote business model? Maybe you have run your business at times remotely or you may have only thought about it. Although working remotely isn’t for every financial advisor, it can have its benefits. This article is all about: How Financial Advisors can be virtual and remote using Zoom.
Here you’ll learn about things to consider before going remote, benefits of working remotely, and different technology options that can make remote work easier. If you want to talk about transitioning to working remotely, contact me as this is one of many strategies I help financial advisors learn through business coaching and business planning.
One of my favorite applications to use as a remote Professional Coach for Financial Advisors is Zoom video conferencing. We’ll review tips on how to use zoom to your advantage.
Before You Go Virtual / Remote
- Before looking at working remotely, there are some important things to keep in mind. They include:
- Rules and regulations regarding working remotely. It’s important to obtain the appropriate advice from compliance before you consider taking the step.
- Your company policy and structure regarding working remotely if you work for a firm.
- Your career. Working remotely can be a big step in your career. With career coaching you can discover if it’s an option for you and your goals.
- Your business. Transitioning to a remote work model can have a significant impact on your business. By making a business plan, you can incorporate it as a strategy going forward.
- Your personality. How would you handle working remotely and not being around people or going to an office each day?
- Your clients. How would they respond to you being a remote financial advisor? Would this be an option some of the time or all of the time? How would clients respond, such as your affluent clients?
- Your family situation. What would working remotely look like at your house and how would your family respond?
If you find that working remotely is an option for you, keep in mind that it’s still a good idea to have at least one meeting annually in person with each of your clients. Your other client meetings can be virtual, but the one in person meeting can help build a connection and a relationship with your clients and remind them that yes, in fact, after so much virtual contact, you are a real person.
How to Sell Clients on the Benefits to using Zoom
In order to successfully go virtual, you’ll have to SELL the concept to your clients. Altering your business model to become more of a virtual / remote model has the potential to benefit your clients in a number of ways.
When clients don’t have to come to your office for every single meeting, they benefit in many ways:
- Avoid getting stuck in traffic and reduce frustration
- Save time. Virtual meetings can save 1-2 hours of commuting
- Save wear and tear on their cars
- By driving less they can do something good for the environment
- Additionally, clients might find that working with you is easier when they can connect virtually.
6 Benefits for Financial Advisors to Having a Virtual Business
In addition to benefiting clients, working as a financial advisor with a remote business model can also benefit you!
1. Save time
One benefit is that you can spend less time on meetings when they are virtual. There is no travel on your part or having to be a specific place and you may have to set up less. Also, scheduling can be easier when you don’t have to meet in person.
2. Live anywhere
Another benefit is that you can live anywhere. If you want to live in the country or in part of town that is distant from your clients, you can. If you want to purchase a beach house or mountain house, it’s an option to work remotely while you’re there.
3. Handle emergencies
When you are set up virtually, you can be better positioned to handle client emergencies. You don’t necessarily have to be at your office or a specific place to be able to help them and you could even help while you were on vacation or out of town.
4. Less overhead
Another benefit is that you might not need a full time dedicated office. You might find that you can set aside part of your home as your office space. As another option, you might share office space with someone or as part of a rental agreement, and only use it as needed. Taking not having a physical office a step further, you might find that you don’t need an office space at all and your phone, laptop, and briefcase could function as your office.
5. Less stress
Whether you set up partially as a virtual business or full time, having the freedom to work from anywhere, well, it’s priceless. I’ve been running my coaching business virtually for more than 15 years and it has given me the freedom to work from my vacation home several times a year. This has improved my life dramatically and lowered stress significantly.
6. Improve the environment
We have all learned from Covid-19 that fewer cars on the road keeps the air cleaner and we don’t really to have a full time office. Fewer cars driving around means that those who HAVE to drive to a job can get there more quickly, improving society overall.
How Technology can Help a Remote Financial Advisor
Technology can be a wonderful tool when it comes to working remotely. You can talk to people, video conference, share documents and more. It can make it like you are almost there.
Virtual Meetings Using Zoom, WebEx, or Go to Meeting
One area where technology can help is in having virtual meetings. Virtual meetings can allow you to convey and gather information from clients and others without either of you having to travel.
There are a number of ways you can have virtual meetings. With virtual meetings you can talk to clients, see each other in video, share your computer screen, and share documents.
One thing you might look into is using a service like Zoom, Webex, or Go to Meeting. They each have different options and plans and you can look into them to see if they might have what fits your needs.
My preference is Zoom due to the quality of the video and the many options it provides. There are settings that allow a virtual background so that you can load an image of a professional background such as a board room or a creative loft workspace.
6 Tips for Zoom Meetings
Have you ever looked at yourself in a department store changing room and grimaced? I don’t know why they continue to use terrible lighting and awful mirrors in the changing rooms! Well, when you appear on Zoom, you want to look your best. If your computer is lower than your face, you may be showing your clients your jowls instead of your face :). Use a box to move your computer up so that it is even with your face.
**SECRET TIP – there is a secret setting in Zoom that will help you appear more “put together.” Some call it the Beauty Setting. To apply this setting, ensure you have a video call in progress, then go to “Video” in the lower left hand corner of the Zoom window. Click on “Video” then “Video Settings” and finally under “Video Settings” check the box “Touch Up My Appearance.”
Make sure you have an artistic or motivational background! Move a colorful impressionistic painting so that it appears behind you. Better yet, purchase some motivation paintings or sayings such as “Follow your dreams,” “Live your dream life,” “Dream. Plan. Enjoy.,” “Gratitude,” “Dream big,” etc. You can find such paintings at stores that offer home decorating or you can even go to Amazon and search for “motivational paintings for office” or “plaques with sayings motivational.”
This aligns with appearance in that you want to look your best when you are on a Zoom meeting. The easiest way to find good lighting is to walk around with your laptop while testing a one person video meeting. Natural light will be the most flattering: in front of a window usually works best. You can also put a lamp behind your computer so that the light enhances your natural look.
***BONUS TIP*** Purchase a Laptop Stand and Holder that adjusts to move your laptop up or down in order to place the camera directly in-line with your forehead. If the camera is lower than your forehead, your facial appearance may not be optimal. You’ll need a separate keyboard but I’m certain you’ll find this working set up optimal. I recommend this Laptop Stand.
Wear simple yet professional clothing, so nothing wild with patterns. I recommend solid colors with a touch of a pattern such as a scarf or tie that matches your color scheme. For female advisors, it’s not necessary to wear a suit. A nice solid color top with a scarf or brooch will do just fine. For male advisors, an open collar pressed shirt or your regular attire without the jacket will look great.
For women financial advisors especially, try to keep the jewelry simple. For example, wear plain pearl post earrings rather than dangly earrings. What you want to avoid is distracting jewelry that takes attention away from what you are saying.
Once again for female advisors, simple and natural makeup is best to keep the attention on your message. The worst example of what not to do is a client I worked with a few years ago who tended to wear very dark brownish-red lipstick that did not suit her. A simple pink would have sufficed.
Scheduling and Signing
In addition to virtual meetings, there are also other technology tools you can use as a remote advisor.
1. Scheduling appointments automatically
One service you might look into is scheduling applications. You can use these to schedule client and other appointments as well as other things, and they can make the process easier and more streamlined. Services you might consider are ScheduleOnce, Calendly, and Acuity Scheduling. My preference is ScheduleOnce because with the pro version, you can have two calendars. One for prospective clients and one for existing clients.
2. Signing documents automatically
In addition to meeting and scheduling services, another technology area is the idea of the using less paper documents. One service you might consider using is DocuSign. They have different products one of which is used for electronic signatures. This can help you work remotely because, where appropriate, clients can sign documents without you physically sending them.
We know that the practice of signing documents can be a burden for clients. Opening new accounts requires so much hand-holding and work that it can overwhelm clients and actually be a barrier to getting prospective clients to sign on the dotted line (pun intended).
Working remotely isn’t for every financial advisor. There is a lot that goes into the decision. If it’s right for you though, it can benefit both your clients and yourself. And, with different technology options, you can improve how you work and provide a better client service experience for your clients. If you are thinking about going remote, contact me and we can talk about how it could work for you.