Have you ever wondered how to become a virtual financial advisor? Many advisors are finding ways to incorporate virtual services to best meet the needs of their clients and to serve more clients than ever before. In this post, we’ll cover everything you need to know to get started.
Good Life Companies provides a full range of support services for advisors. From technology procurement to virtual practice management, outsourced financial planning and more, we can help you transition to a fully virtual practice or set you up to provide virtual service for your clients as part of your offering. Contact us today to learn more.
What Is A Virtual Financial Advisor?
Transitioning your services to a virtual environment doesn’t mean that you have to give up your office. Some advisors choose to close the brick and mortar space. Others keep the office open and use virtual advising to expand their client base. These are two different business models. The virtual-only model, also known as “all-remote,” is the one we’ll discuss in detail today.
Let’s alleviate a few concerns first. You don’t have to be a technology wizard to run a virtual advisory practice. There’s a certain level of proficiency needed to use online tools, but it’s fairly simple to get up to speed quickly. The initial investment isn’t bad either. In fact, the total price for software applications is far more cost effective than a traditional office overhead.
Preparing to Open a Virtual Advisory Practice
Are you comfortable with technology? It’s important to understand that virtual advisors do business entirely online. That means you’ll need to use video conferencing, online reporting, a CRM system, document sharing applications, and more. You’re also looking at shorter meeting times and less small talk when dealing with clients. That’s a big adjustment for many advisors.
Another thing to remember is that technology sometimes breaks. Be prepared to adapt quickly when video doesn’t work or your reporting system locks you out. The best solution in these instances is to simply pick up the phone and call the client. Your business is still all about relationships, whether you’re online or off. Communication is key to that.
Make sure that you’re legally able to offer virtual financial advisor services. If you’re a financial planner or RIA, there should be no issue. Independent advisors can do as they please when it comes to virtual advising. If you’re working for someone else, speak to the compliance department there and let your intentions be known. There may be language in your contract that prohibits you from going online.
Choosing the Right Technology
Most advisory firms are already using client portals and online reporting software. But you’ll need more than that to operate successfully as a virtual advisor.
This is where things start to get complicated. In addition to a client portal and reporting software, you’ll also need a trading platform and a compliant process to execute trades. Account opening and e-signatures is another area you have to look at. And don’t forget about the CRM and virtual assistant you’ll want to have to keep track of it all.
The good news is that you don’t have to do this all on your own. Good Life Companies offers virtual practice management that includes back office support, client relationship management, compliance, and account opening. None of these are areas where you can afford to make a mistake, so utilizing this service can add security and stability to your practice. We can also help you with technology procurement, to help you ensure you have all of the hardware and software you need to operate day to day.
Constructing Your Value Proposition
You’re not the only financial advisor looking to open a virtual practice. What separates you from your competitors? Simply offering online services is not enough. Everyone is doing that these days. You’ll need something more to distinguish you from the rest of that pack. Take some time and figure out what makes you special, then articulate that.
The value proposition needs be broken down and turned into content for your website, so don’t be afraid to elaborate when you construct it. If you feel that your services are vital to a specific niche, explain in detail why you feel that way. Can that niche be broken down into smaller prospect groups? If so, make a list of how you can service those prospects.
If a prospect is in your target niche, why would they hire you to manage my money virtually? What qualifies you to do that? Investors are accustomed to doing business face-to-face, so answering this question will be part of every new client relationship you develop. Display your credentials on your website and be prepared to field the “why virtual” question.
Read our blog post on How to Create a Compelling Financial Advisor Value Proposition for more assistance.
Add Financial Planning as a Virtual Service
Every virtual advisory practice should offer financial planning. Why? You need to “meet” with clients regularly when you manage their money online. This usually means setting up weekly or monthly video calls. If you’re just managing money and the market is down, what will you talk about? Apologizing for losses and telling them to “just hang on” gets old after a while.
With financial planning, the nature of those scheduled calls changes. You’ll no longer be talking about short-term gains and losses. You’ll be helping your clients to plan for long-term goals like retirement. If the client is looking at their retirement years, small bumps in the road can become minimized.
Whether you have limited experience in regard to financial planning or simply need assistance with taking on your client load, Good Life Companies can help. Learn more about our outsourced financial planning services.
Virtual Advisor Marketing Tips
Your website is your online business card, and as a virtual financial advisor, you could even go so far as to say your website is your office! To that end, ensuring you have a high quality, functioning website is more important than ever. Your website will serve as the hub of all of your digital marketing activity as well as your interactions with existing clients.
One key tip for virtual advisor marketing is to double down on video marketing. Get your face out there and let prospects hear your voice. Remember the “why would I hire you” question? Include a brief video in a prominent position on your website introducing yourself, pitching your value proposition, and explaining what makes you the right choice.
Another key strategy for virtual advisors is to set up regular webinars and attend webinars conducted by others. This is another way for you to “speak” to prospects. You’re virtual, so you don’t have to limit yourself to strictly local events. Expand your reach. Stay inside your niche market if you can, but don’t be afraid to venture out of it either. You never know where you might find new business.
Looking for more ways to promote your business? Explore our blog post on top digital marketing tips for financial advisors.
Ready to Go Virtual?
If you’re ready to become a virtual financial advisor, contact Good Life Companies today. We can help you transition to become a fully virtual practice or help you get set up to offer virtual service as an attractive add-on. Contact us today to learn more.