Is the current normal here to stay? Only time will tell.
Will the 2020 Covid-19 health crises create a permanent new normal for the ways financial advisors market their services to investors? Or, will the crisis prove to be a temporary blip and financial advisor marketing will return to the old normal in 2021?
Will new vaccines and therapies give investors the confidence they need to return to the old normal? Will this apply to everyone or just younger investors who are less vulnerable to these health risks?
The impact of the crisis may just be profound enough that it creates a new normal for the ways investors interact with their financial advisors.
How should financial advisors market their advice and services in the days ahead? How can they turn the current crisis into a competitive advantage?
Financial advisors will have to be more sensitive to the personal concerns of investors, in particular investors who are challenged by various health concerns.
Social and business interactions can no longer be taken for granted.
It will pay to ask prospects and clients, their preference for methods of communication. Then financial advisors will have to be able to accommodate their requests.
Scope of Service
Now more than ever, advisors will benefit if they broaden the scope of their services to be more comprehensive with a focus on comprehensive planning services.
- Long Term Care
- Health & Disability
- Estate Planning
- Legacy Planning
It stands to reason a lot of investors will want to deal with fewer and fewer advisors. Enterprising firms should stress the ability to deliver an array of financial advice and services through a limited number of professionals.
After years of giving financial advisors credit for the performance of a prolonged bull market, they are more inclined to blame advisors for losses during the turbulent markets that occurred in 2020.
Millions of investors were not satisfied with the level of service that they received from their financial advisors during and immediately after the pandemic. A general lack of relevant communication was one of their most frequent laments.
This creates a major marketing opportunity for financial advisors who are prepared to provide the level of service that investors expect during turbulent markets.
Millions of additional do it yourself investors who were comfortable managing their own assets during a prolonged bull market have had a rude awakening.
Volatile markets are a wake-up call that investing requires specialized knowledge and resources. Not to mention the amount of time it takes to research alternatives, monitor investments, and track results.
This was a rude awakening for the DIYs who were lulled to sleep during the prolonged Bull Market for most of the past several years.
More and more companies are giving their employees a permanent work-from-home option. It is no longer a temporary phenomenon that was precipitated by a requirement for social distancing.
At first, companies were concerned about a decline in productivity, but that concern went away when they saw the productivity of key employees actually go up. That makes sense when employees are able to redeploy all the time they spent commuting, taking prolonged lunches, and socializing at the workplace.
The new normal in the workplace is virtual communications based on the telephone, Internet, Zoom, and other technologies.
Sure there will be a need for occasional meetings, but even those can be conducted over Zoom. Why waste time commuting to a centralized location. In fact, decentralized companies have used this form of communication for years. Now it is being offered to employees in the same cities, which also reduces the importance of where employees are physically located.
The Telehealth Alternative
If doctors can deliver advice and recommendations that impact physical well-being, then it stands to reason that advisors can deliver advice and services that impact financial well-being.
There is a certain amount of comfort knowing you can reach your doctor by telephone or the Internet and get a diagnosis or prescription without leaving the comfort of your own home.
No more commuting to the doctor’s office. No more sitting around in waiting rooms with other people who may be sicker than you are. No more waiting for doctors to show up for scheduled appointments one hour late.
There may be reasons to see a doctor in person, but those reasons will gradually decline as people become more comfortable with a new normal for medical advice. And, in the not too distant future, even some medical tests will be remote.
Prospects Versus Clients
It also stands to reason that people who know you (clients) will be more comfortable interacting with you in a virtual environment than people who don’t know you (leads, prospects, referrals, COI’s).
It will be more important in the future to make sure you know the person’s communication preferences before you start down the wrong path of making assumptions that are wrong.
The Choice is Yours
At the end of the day, financial advisors will be better off if they offer prospects and clients alternatives for meetings and communications.
It is no longer as simple as scheduling an office meeting for marketing or service meetings. Advisors will have to offer investors choices that meet their expectations. Some investors will be comfortable with a simple phone call while others will prefer a Zoom or face-to-face meeting.
There will not be any such thing as one size fits all marketing. Investors will have preferences based on location, age, health, social, and wealth. Advisors will have to set-up in ways that enable them to accommodate these preferences.
Old Habits Die Hard
You do not want to be the financial advisor who is the dinosaur that became extinct. You have to evolve with the times and the times are rapidly changing in dramatic ways that never could have been predicted just a few years ago.
Your latest evolution will be the ways you communicate and interact with prospective and current clients. Sure it was precipitated by a cataclysmic event we call the Coronavirus. But, the event was so profound that it permanently impacted the way people interact with each other and that includes how investors select new financial advisors and interact with their current financial advisors.