By now, most of us have tried to hold a Zoom or a GoToMeeting remote meeting to engage with clients, transact business, bond with friends or check on parents or kids. Remote meetings have quickly replaced in person get togethers during the Covid-19 crisis. But as we learn to use the new tools, we can see they clearly pale in comparison to in person meetings. Passive, casual conversations are more difficult to carry on remotely. Advance client discovery helps carry on.
However, if you plan ahead and have a topic to explore that is meaningful and engaging, remote meetings can work quite well. For professional client meetings, sending out an agenda ahead of time is a good starting point. We suggest always starting with a check-in. How are you doing? What is on your mind that you want to make sure we cover?
The more you focus on what is important to the client the more engaging the conversation. Active and Deep listening is ever more important during screen sharing meetings. More on this is the topic of a later post. Priorities, values, issues, goals and aspirations are all important information to have at the ready when diving into the topic particulars.
Ascertaining this softer, qualitative side of client data gathering can prove time consuming, but it doesn’t have to if handled appropriately. Using a survey tool, such as Survey Monkey or the like, enables custom questions that can get to the heart of what the client’s values, what they are trying to achieve, any issues that stand in the way, and what opportunities that are presenting themselves, in advance of the meeting/call. With this information already in hand, the conversation will naturally flow. For example, “I see from your answers that your retirement portfolio is of utmost concern and that you want to retire in 3 years. Is that right?” You’ll be able to focus the call more on solutions rather than simple data gathering.
Robert V. (Bob) Bolen, CFA, CFP®, CeFT®, FBS®
Founder and CEO of Touchstone Pathway
Touchstone Pathway is a Cloud-based, Client Discovery and Decision Support platform built for financial advisors. It helps Advisors know their clients at a deep and personal level that is repeatable and therefore scalable and adds differentiating value to their advisory practice. Our platform guides our advisors’ clients to articulate and actually achieve their heartfelt goals and aspirations by effectively addressing behavioral finance issues. Bolen was previously President and founder of Envision Wealth Planning, a fee only wealth management firm.