I was recently talking to a peer who has been in the financial services business for roughly 30 years. He travels a ton to meet clients. I mentioned to him I do nearly all my meetings virtually. He looked at me as though I had an extra head growing out of my neck. As I explained to him, let me share with you why being and working with a virtual advisor is so beneficial and also the future.
• Convenience – Most of my clients work full-time. A virtual meeting means they can be at their desk and I am at mine. They don’t have to take time off work to meet nor do we have to meet in the evenings or weekends. Heck, for my married couples they do not even need to be in the same location. As long as they have a computer with internet access we can meet.
• Location Agnostic – I have clients all over the place. Some are around the corner, some are a few hours away by car and others require a plane ticket and hotel stay to meet. No longer do I have to be in the office building around the corner from a client’s home.
• Cost Savings – I calculate I save at least $2,000 a month on not having an office outside my house. These savings help keep my fees low, which my clients greatly appreciate.
• Record-Keeping – I use GoToMeeting for my virtual meetings. One advantage of GoToMeeting is I can record meetings. I have not started doing this, however, I wouldn’t be surprised if I am required to at some point by compliance. In the meantime, if a client ever asked me to record a meeting and send it to them I can.
• Time Savings – I read recently the average virtual client meeting lasts half as long as an in-person meeting. I don’t think my meetings are that much shorter, however, the virtual ones are definitely shorter.
• Comfort – You can be wearing your pajamas during a virtual meeting because I cannot see you. Most meetings I am in jeans, a sweatshirt and my slippers. My dogs are quietly hanging around in the background waiting for a squirrel to wander by a window.
• Quicker Response – In the old days it was usually a week before I could schedule a face-to-face meeting with a client. Now all we need to do is find anywhere from 15-60 minutes for a GoToMeeting. My response time to meet with clients has dropped from a week or more to a day or two. How’s that for customer service!
Having a virtual advisor is not for everyone. I get that. A few of my clients were hesitant to even try the virtual part of my practice. I am happy to say each of them is now a convert because of the reasons I outlined above. It doesn’t preclude us from meeting in person, but it certainly allows us to meet faster and more frequently. Ultimately, it dramatically improves the quality of service I provide to clients and this is what they appreciate the most.