How Financial Advisor Can Engage Clients Virtually


An interview with National Sales Manager, Marc Rogers and Director of Brand Strategy, Sam Yarborough

Sam Yarborough: Welcome back. We are so happy that you're here. Today we're very excited to have Marc Rogers, our national sales manager, joining us again. Marc is going to talk to us a little bit about how we can really make an impact with clients in this virtual world. How do we engage people virtually?

Marc Rogers: Well, what's interesting is nearly everything that can be done face to face, we're quickly finding out that you can also do this virtually, right?

Sam: Absolutely.

Marc: So, if I were to boil down a couple of, how can I engage further or more fully develop a relationship with my existing client? Number one, I would say we need to just kind of slow down.

Sam: Yes.

Marc: I think we are in a world of go, go, go. How many people can I fit into my appointment schedule? And when you have your favorite person, whether it's in your office, whether it's on a virtual call, don't put timeframes around it. Because you're not face-to-face you have kind of that wall in between one another. So I think slowing down, giving time to let your client on the other side really think about what's being said, and you don't know what distracting things are going around them. You don't have their full attention. So just slow down, spend some time. I think that that's really important. Especially with all the noise going on in our world today, really get into those emotions and feelings and really understand and have a personal relationship with your client.

Sam: I think that's such great advice. We've talked about this before, but being in the financial industry, it's so much more than just a business relationship. These are personal things for people. So, having a personal relationship with them certainly is important. Tell me a little bit about the second thing we've talked about here. When you are having these slowed down personal conversations with people, tell me about the difference between acting on feelings versus actions and business versus relationship. What does that look like?

Marc: Well, for me, I want to really understand what's going on in the client's world. Obviously, with retirement and challenges to retirement, all the media sources and things going on - maybe your clients are living right in the middle of all this, the riots or whatever is going on, right? That can impact their financial decisions and choices all the time. So, first, understanding their true feelings. “Hey, how are you feeling about…” Then on top of the pandemic, remember regular life is happening. Kids are going off to college and grand babies are being born and people are buying and selling homes - life is still trying to naturally go on. And with that, if we're doing a proper job of engaging our clients and pulling out their feelings, then you really understand what is going on in their life.

Marc: You can then challenge them to find opportunities and have them make an introduction for you to people that also need your help. Or, maybe you need to go back to the beginning and restart the plan that you built for them, because now something just totally altered in their life. If we're not having the feelings and understanding those deeper conversations with people - one, you're not going to get introductions from them and two, are you engaging enough to really be in tune with how they're feeling so that then you can make those changes and be proactive, and be seen in a positive light with your clients.

Sam: That's great advice. We’ve talked about making sure that you are understanding the client's feelings, and having slower conversations so that you understand them. Tell me a little bit about how, especially in a virtual world, you can create your personal brand. How you can show them a little bit about your life. Tell me about that?

Marc: Now we're getting into the fun stuff, right? So I think that one, you've got to be connected socially through Facebook and through Instagram with your favorite people. And, it's okay to comment and like, and be personal with them. I love to golf with my son, that’s a big thing that I do. And, I love the fact that I've got some of my clients, some of my advisors connected to me on social media. Because that's really bridged a few gaps in relationships because we've been able to talk about our kids in sports or our hobbies and interests, or even that fun thing that you ate Friday night, right?

Sam: Yes!

Marc: And be engaging with it. Don't just be connected on social media because you feel like you have to be relevant, be noticeable. Man, my advisor is finding a way to like every one of my posts on Facebook or LinkedIn, right. Man, I know how busy he is and he's still taking the time to wish me a happy birthday or to say hello or engage on a comment. That's such a true personal touch that we miss all the time. Sam, one of the things that I'm trying to push advisors to do is get rid of the candid, happy birthday card, get rid of the text, happy birthday, get rid of the email happy birthday. And this is what I'm telling everybody to do. You brought up Drift as a great solution for this.

I'm trying to encourage all advisers to shoot a happy birthday video and text that to them or send that to them post it on their social media. And you can look professional and Hey, from Roger's financial and insurance services, we love you. I mean, you can make the connection that's ever so slightly, but still such a personal touch, it just makes it feel different.

Sam: A world of difference. Yeah. I love that idea. I also think you brought up some really great points. We've talked about this here before, but it's called social media for a reason.

Marc: That's right.

Sam: And especially now, I mean, if you're not embracing and fully engaging with social media, you are missing out because you can't leave your house. I mean, as much as you could before. This is a very easy way to engage with clients and to your point, Marc, to show both sides. To say, “Oh, your son, golfs? I golf!” And they can see what you're doing. You can see what they're doing. That's a great way to bridge that gap and create a personal relationship. So Marc, this is all excellent advice. What else do you say to somebody who's feeling a little out of sorts these days and doesn't necessarily know how to engage with their clients virtually?

Marc: You've got to start at some point. So, what I don't want advisors to do is go, okay, I'm going to go try this on my B and C clients and forget about the A's. Because remember, if you're not engaging with your A clients, somebody else is. And two, if you're really trying to focus on growing your work practice with more ideal clients today... And by the way, typically your ideal client is the person that loves you and cares about you. It's okay if you fumble the first time on getting somebody on a virtual call, it's okay, and you're going to work through it, but practice. Talk to your spouse, get them on a call, practice there. So, I think it's just getting more comfortable with doing it more times.

I've talked to advisors, who when they started said, “I'm terrified. I don't think I can do this. I'm going to shut down until this thing gets back to normal.” I’ve been able to kind of push them off the ledge to get them to jump, right – to do a call with their favorite people. I can't tell you how many times I've gotten called back, “Marc, this has made all the difference in the world. Thank you so much. I've got more referrals. We uncovered missed assets and we're doing it all virtually.”

Sam: So great. So true. I also love what you said at the very beginning there about how don't be afraid. If you fumble a little bit with your clients again, that shows you're human.

Marc: Yeah.

Sam: This is scary. This is new. This is awkward for everyone. So the best advice is to just - get started.

Related: Is a 9% Annual Average Return Enough for Your Clients in Retirement?