Times are changing, and suddenly we have all been thrust onto the online space, whether we were prepared or not. While the country is slowly opening back up despite the increasing number of covid19 cases, many businesses are choosing to stay remote, and people are still wary about office meetings. Financial Advisors are in a fortunate position to potentially increase their client base, as now you are not limited to the geographic area that you are physically located in.
There is a new normal of how we do business – whether that be entirely from your home or from a secluded, socially distanced workspace. Obviously, understanding your market and the technical skills required to service your clients are still important, but the soft skills, and how you communicate with clients during these difficult times have become more important than ever. Mind that a Harvard University research showed that even prior to the coronavirus pandemic, 85% of business success already came from “soft skills” rather than “technical skills”.
Here are 5 soft skills you’d need to work entirely online as a Financial Advisor.
Check out our 24-step training program, Become Brilliant at the Basics; What They Don’t Teach You in Training. It will give you the know-how to beat the 80% failure rate in our industry.
#1. Effective prospecting skills
Different people are at different stages of their journey with technology. Some market segments have been using technology their whole life and it comes as second nature – e.g. millennials. Yet some are only just beginning to use it.
One skill that would come in handy is learning who to prospect based on their habits of using technology. Millennials, and others who are very used to technology, will see no issue or difference in getting financial advice online. However, someone who isn’t very versed in the online space may find it more difficult to adapt.
Looking at which segments are happier to work with you online will allow you to fill your appointment book faster despite the social distancing requirements.
#2. The skill to use stories and analogies to influence and persuade people
We all know how important communication is in general. Many studies from around the world have suggested that this may be one of the most important skills in any business setting. When we cannot meet face to face, however, things become a little bit more complicated.
While you do have the luxury of using online video conferencing programs like Zoom or Google Meet to speak with clients and potential clients, it is still not as easy to pick up on body language, so the verbal communication becomes more important than ever.
Getting really good at storytelling will help you convince prospects and clients to trust you further – a huge factor in choosing a Financial Advisor for many investors. The better you can verbally communicate, the easier it will be for prospective and current clients alike to understand where you are coming from, and make the meeting as similar as possible to those face-to-face meetings we grew to understand.
#3. Creative thinking
A lot has changed in the past few months and experts are suggesting things will not be back to “normal” for a long time, if ever. Having a strong creative thinking ability will allow you to quickly adapt to new ways of working, meaning you’ll be ahead of a lot of your competitors.
Learn how to use technology in new, creative ways, and start pivoting your services to adapt to the ever changing demands of clients (and the government).
Being a creative thinker will also allow you to work around difficulties more easily. Most Financial Advisors are already good at looking at money in different ways, which is why you get paid to do what you do, so using this skill in other areas of business will help you and your business grow.
Creative thinking would come in handy during market uncertainty too. If you need help convincing client that market volatility can be good a good opportunity for growing their wealth, check out our Bear Market Tool Kit. It contains videos, audios and PDF files – all designed to help you calm clients’ fears during challenging times and help you open new accounts despite the turmoil.
#4. Becoming a master of your time
Time-management is an underrated skill that many disregard, but can be the difference between a successful business, and a non-existent business. This was true when we had offices, set hours, and organized deadlines, and has just become even more true now that we don’t.
Many of you will be working from home for the foreseeable future. While having a home office has a lot of advantages, it also means that you must perfect your time management skills. There are many more distractions at home, so setting a routine and a schedule will allow you to keep on top of tasks and client deadlines, and be available to clients at times when they expect you to be available.
Using a scheduling app, or simply a paper planner, as well as having “office-hours” as you would when travelling to work, can go a long way in helping with this skill. Often times we fill the time allotted to the task, and when no time is allocated, we have trouble finishing the tasks at all!
#5. Emotional Intelligence
Finally, emotional intelligence. It is regarded as a highly important skill across industries. Within the financial services area, and especially now that we are working mostly online, it has become even more important.
Because people with high emotional intelligence are great at showing what they, and those around them, think or feel, which in turn makes them easier to trust than those without a high EQ.
Needless to say that establishing trust is one of the first things you need to do when talking with prospective clients, especially in an already difficult digital environment. So next time you speak with a prospective client, listen, and I mean really listen, to what they say. That’s the only way to understand what they want and need from you, as their Financial Advisor.
Improving your soft skills is not a one-time endeavor. It’s a process which would most likely help you overcome the 80% failure rate in our industry, especially now that many Financial Advisors are forced to work remotely.