It is the magic of technology today that it is possible to have a face-to-face meeting without being in the same room. The technology that produced such web platforms as FaceTime and Skype has allowed grandparents to watch their grandchildren grow, but it is also used for professional and business purposes.
Like, for instance, when an investor wants to speak to an advisor.
When it comes to money issues, investors often prefer to speak to their advisor face-to-face. Such communication allows for easier understanding of a conversation, as facial expressions go a long way in comprehending a person’s point of view. But an advisor’s time is valuable, and setting up face-to-face meetings as well as executing them can take more time than is necessary to get the job done. Additionally, sometimes clients travel or spend part of the year in another part of the country. Others may have poor health and be unable to easily come into the office. Or they may be tired of meeting for lunch or golf. That’s why advisors should consider making themselves available via video-chat.
That’s what some investors want. According to Spectrem’s wealth research, Using Social Media and Mobile Technology in Financial Decisions (italicize or bold title), a sizeable percentage of affluent investors would be willing to use video-chat technology to talk to their advisor. In fact, the percentages are not far below those who want to be able to text their advisor.
The question is: Are you willing to have a meeting with an investor via video-chat?
“One of the oldest phrases in finance and business is ‘time is money’, and there is no question a video meeting takes less time than a face-to-face meeting,’’ said Spectrem President George H. Walper, Jr. “If investors feel more comfortable seeing their advisor’s face while discussing issues related to their personal finances, advisors should accommodate those wishes. Video-chatting is an advancement that is easy to accomplish and execute.”
Like other forms of electronic communication, video-chatting does require compliance with federal guidelines and regulations. It is possible your video-chat conversation will need to be recorded.
But the opportunity to video-chat might be a positive spin for investors who really, really like to have face-to-face meetings. A discussion about using that technology at the beginning of a relationship, or when a client has an issue that requires multiple meetings, could streamline the process of solving the problem and moving on.
If an advisor is a veteran video-chat user, with experience from in-house meetings or long-distance relationships, that advisor can promote the idea of video-chatting with investors who might not have yet considered using that technology in their investment process.
How much interest is there in video-chatting with advisors?
According to the Spectrem study, there is great interest among younger investors, and as wealth increases among investors, so does interest in video-chatting. Asked to rate their interest on a 0-to-100 scale, Ultra High Net Worth investors with a net worth between $5 million and $25 million rated their interest at 29.61 (although Millennials and Gen X investors rated it at 47.88). By comparison, interest in being able to text their advisor rated at just 32.82 among all UHNW investors.
Meetings conducted via video-chat have limitations, especially when it comes to paperwork. But assuming any printed information can be emailed (again with a thought to compliance guidelines), such limitations are only a slight inconvenience, and a technologically advanced investor might not see those limitations as problematic at all.
Top Takeaways for Advisors
For some advisors, face-to-face meetings are a huge advantage to making a relationship with investors function. People skills come into play, as does conversational skills. But face-to-meetings take time out of a busy day for both investor and advisor. Video-chatting provides the opportunity for the advisor to use his communication skills in a personal way while making the most of his or her time at work.
There are few limitations on video-chatting. Investors can do it from their desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone. Working on the theory that face-to-face communication is more thorough and complete than just voice communication, an advisor would be well-served to note which investors like video-chatting and take advantage of that technology when it is welcomed.
Some of your clients may never be open to video-chatting. If that is the case, don't push it. The number one rule is to communicate with clients in the manner that they prefer. For some, you may be able to introduce them to it while in a face-to-face meeting and demonstrate how easy it can be. That may make them more willing to try it out. For others... they may want to "invite the grandchildren over"... to show them how it works.