The financial industry has always been reliant on brick and mortar offices. New financial advisors are encouraged by mentors and compliance agencies to have a physical office in order to conduct client meetings and operate their business.
2020 has brought a lot of change, with many businesses entering the virtual space. Some businesses have embraced the tools and resources that are available, adapting to the change more easily than others.
To clarify, a virtual practice operates its business mostly online without a physical location. From meeting with clients digitally via video calls, through to having your data stored in the cloud. A virtual practice gives you the ability to run your business from anywhere in the world.
There are many benefits to a virtual practice, including lower overhead costs, a better work/life balance and being prepared for any environmental situation (i.e. snowstorm, flood, global pandemic).
Trailblazers like Derek Notman CFP®, who is the creator of The Virtual Advisor System, originally started by doing what he was ‘meant to do’ which was open a brick and mortar business. Stressed and missing quality time with his family due to a lot of interstate travel to meet with clients, Derek decided to make the change to a virtual practice.
He was initially worried about losing clients when he first transitioned to a virtual practice, but in fact, he found that his clients actually preferred digital meetings! It was a win-win as there was no more after hours travel to client homes, and his clients didn’t have to try and make their way to his office. Since the transition in 2006, he has only lost one client, and has experienced about 20 percent growth each year.
Derek has clients from coast to coast who feel that they have known him for years, yet they’ve never met in person! “The combination of video, social media, and my website helps add the personal touch and build strong client relationships,” said Derek Notman CFP®.
|Find out more about Derek Notman’s journey to a virtual practice in his interview with Advisor Websites’ Director of Growth, Nitesh Verma.|
With the advancement of tech in the virtual business space, we have compiled a list of the best online tools for financial advisors to run a virtual practice.
Whether you’re virtual or not, you need a phone number for clients to contact you and for you to make calls. Communication is key for a successful virtual practice! You can use your existing cell number, but most advisors like to keep their cell private for friends and family. There are also cost efficiencies by not adding a second number and using a VoIP system instead.
VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol, which is an online platform enabling you to make phone calls. Calls can be made via your computer or an app on your mobile. Here are some popular VoIP systems:
File Storage & Sharing
Digital file storage and file sharing has so many benefits! All your documents are online so you can work, edit files and share documents from anywhere. You also have peace of mind if your computer crashes that you won’t lose all your files. A side perk is that your business can go paperless.
Some great file storage and sharing tools are:
See the platform in action &
When going digital it is hard to have different passwords for different platforms and remember them all! It’s not good for cyber security to use the same password everywhere, especially when you’re working with financial and sensitive information.
Thankfully there are software solutions to help you keep track of all your passwords, including:
Digital Presence1) Website
When you don’t have a physical shopfront, you need a virtual one. Your website is where people can find you, learn about what you do and see your contact information.
Your website is active 24/7, it doesn’t take sick days or vacation, and is often the number one driver of new leads, which is why it’s an extremely important component of a virtual practice. To ensure your website is performing to convert leads, check out our ebook ‘Drive Traffic and Convert Prospects into Clients with Engaging Website Design & Content’.
2) Social media
Social media is another great online tool to help you attract leads and build relationships with clients. Before jumping into social media it is recommended to speak with your compliance officer to ensure you’re following their guidelines.
There are many social media channels available, so it is important to think of where your target market is located and only spend the time on those channels. You’re better to be on one social media channel and to do it well, then be on them all and do it poorly. Because of this, we only tend to recommend the following three:
An online calendar is something that you can embed into your website, or send a link to your client to easily book a meeting. It’s so much better than the email back-and-forth to find a suitable time!
- MeetingMaker - made by Advisor Websites for easy integration into the website you have with us
|Check out our article on ‘Best Practices for Utilizing an Online Scheduling Tool’|
To help build relationships with clients and avoid miscommunication, it’s recommended to do video meetings with the camera turned on.
There are a myriad of video meeting programs available. The most popular programs include:
Whether your business is virtual or not, it’s recommended to use a CRM, which stands for Customer Relationship Management.
There are CRM platforms available that are specific for financial advisors, as well as those that are industry leaders. Some of the most popular platforms for financial advisors include:
- Redtail - your Advisor Websites site will integrate with your Redtail CRM
|Check out our article ‘6 Popular CRMs for Financial Advisors’|
The essence of running a successful virtual financial advisory business remains the same as a traditional business; you need to provide a personalized service to your clients.
|Check out our great webinar ‘The Business of Financial Advisors during COVID-19 and Future Opportunities’ which includes many great tips from Derek Notman and other financial advisors about running a virtual practice.|
Before you implement any digital tools or transform your business to a virtual practice, please check regulations with your compliance officer first.
ABOUT ADVISOR WEBSITES - A digital marketing platform designed for Financial Advisors, helping them grow their business through a series of marketing tools and services while seamlessly meeting compliance requirements. In addition, the Advisor Websites platform offers a selection of effective and proven website frameworks that are personalized to reflect individual businesses and brands.