How To Build Better Relationships in a Virtual World

Executive summary:

  • Like other industries, wealth management has moved to a virtual world in the wake of the COVID pandemic
  • This trend means advisors need to find new ways to build deeper client relationships
  • Taking a page from online retailers may help elevate your service model

We are now a few years past the onset of the COVID pandemic, and we've had a chance to think about some of its changes in the wealth management business. Even if we wish certain things hadn't changed, we must acknowledge that they have – and adapt accordingly.

I am a fan of vinyl records (or those oversized, pointless CDs, as my friends call them). I have an extensive record collection (classic rock, jazz, country). Unfortunately, as the world has moved to digital music formats, I have had to roll with it. I share text messages of links to albums or new songs with friends and colleagues. This has helped identify shared passions and build relationships. Would I rather mail my colleagues a vinyl record? You might call me crazy, but the answer is yes! However, the reality is that it may not resonate with the recipient. The world is changing and I must as well.

When I talk to advisors, they often reflect on some of their best clients. These are the people they are most thrilled to work with. I typically ask a series of questions, including how long they have been working together and how the relationship came to be. In most instances, those top relationships started through a series of in-person meetings. That face-to-face contact accelerated the relationship-building and comfort with the potential partnership. Many established advisors also comment on how much they wish they could see more clients in person. However, many clients now prefer virtual meetings.

As much as we wish some of our clients would come and visit us in person, it will not happen in certain cases. So, what can we do? Well, if an online world is the new normal, let's explore ideas for deepening those client relationships virtually.