Using Available Tools to Meet Client Needs

As many of us settle into working from home, we’ve gotten accustomed to the virtual work environment. With this, we’ve seen the emergence of new tools to make virtual work-life more straightforward, but there may be even more at our disposal than initially comes to mind.

Despite feeling primarily adjusted to the new normal of these virtual environments, many of our clients remain apprehensive about the potential impact the pandemic may have on their financial and personal well-being. We can utilize virtual meeting platforms like Zoom to connect with them one-on-one to put their minds at ease. Still, we also need to take the time to tap into our emotional intelligence to ensure we’re approaching those conversations in the most thoughtful and impactful way possible.

Making Connections Through Emotional Intelligence
Clients are looking for our guidance now more than ever as a source of stability and advice on financial and personal matters. A recent MDRT study shows almost two-thirds (63%) of Americans who currently work with an advisor have talked to them about the impact of the coronavirus. Instead of waiting for clients to reach out once their fears have taken over, be proactive in your communications. Share with them the steps you have already taken to both protect and grow their assets during this time.

The ability for an advisor to display emotional intelligence in their communications is crucial, and according to another MDRT commissioned a study by Harris Insights, 85% of Americans are more likely to trust recommendations from advisors if they demonstrate emotional intelligence. Having the ability to empathize with clients and make personal connections is more important than ever, but virtual meetings may initially seem to limit this.

When meeting with clients through video, take advantage of the chance to show yourself in a more personal environment than you normally would and consider what you’re seeing around your clients in their home. I have found virtual meetings can be more light-hearted because we can all relate to the work from home attire and the challenges of juggling work and personal lives. We’re now able to see our clients in a more intimate setting, providing us the opportunity to find common ground with those we may have otherwise struggled to relate to.

Adapting Your Business to Reflect New Financial Guidelines
New financial guidelines and aids for individuals who are out of work and for businesses that are struggling to make ends meet provide an additional opportunity to proactively reach out to clients who may be interested in leveraging them. Some of these options, such as the Paycheck Protection Program, have specific payback stipulations, and our clients may not understand the full scope of the guidelines. Keep abreast of this information and look for new resources that can provide the most up-to-date information to supply to your clients.

We can also stay ahead of any potential damages to clients’ financial plans by taking a step back and assessing portfolios through the new lens of volatile markets, as they often expose unrealized weaknesses. A client may assume they have a well-prepared portfolio if it’s been yielding great returns in positive markets, but these returns could quickly be lost as trends shift. Based on your conversations with clients over the last couple of months, consider the level of risk tolerance this crisis has revealed in them when adjusting.

Although it may feel that this new normal will last forever, the positive indicators of a return to our previous work lives should help us all remain hopeful. Take this time to consider which aspects of virtual working and expressing our emotional intelligence can be carried over when we return to physical offices to improve our relationship with clients and staff. We may be able to adapt our businesses in ways we would never have considered otherwise.

Mark DorfmanMark Dorfman is CEO and founding partner of ODI Financial, a national insurance brokerage firm working with today’s leading insurance professionals, and Nosuris, a NY based Registered Investment Advisory firm. Mark has been a member of MDRT since 1997, previously serving as Top of the Table Chairman and Divisional Vice President. He is a Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) with over 30 years of experience. He resides in New York City.