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Why online virtual meetings are gaining favor

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Eric Roberge, founder of Beyond Your Hammock, a Boston registered investment adviser, says that he uses virtual discussions for 95% of client and prospect meetings, citing their flexibility.

“Clients love that they can schedule time to discuss finances into their busy day and still have time for career and other family matters. The framework also reduces the importance of geography, allowing my business to work with clients across the country,” Roberge says.

With automated advice platforms now a standard offering, the easy assumption is that technology is being universally adopted by advisers. Key insights from our annual Tech Survey, though, challenge that notion.
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“All I need is a laptop and a quiet space, and I am set up to efficiently grow my business with incredible profit margins,” he says.

John Gibbons, managing partner of Allied Financial Consultants in Newtown, Pa., says he will soon test conducting online workshops, having previously used webinars to connect with clients domestically and in Europe.

“We see a lot of busy, working adults many with families not having the time to travel to and sit through traditional workshops and other meetings,” he says. “That’s why we’re starting to experiment online.”

With boomers and many others as busy as ever, holding virtual meetings online is gaining favor with more advisers as a way to upgrade their practices.

In a recent report, McKinsey estimates that about 42 million households worldwide, representing $66 billion in annual revenue across banking, borrowing, and investing, are already prime candidates for virtual advice.

As advisers gain clients in these segments using “virtual” channels, they will inevitably form a profitable core of customers for those who can deliver high-quality advice digitally.

Other ways to upgrade a practice include:

*Use FlipBook to showcase media stories that either the adviser was included in or that help illustrate the planning advice.

*Some market observers say that advisers are using bomBBomb.com’s platform, which can send and track the results of both traditional and video emails.

*One user of bomBBomb, Bryan Bibbo, a financial coach with JL Smith Group in Avon, Ohio, said that he has seen a “dramatic increase in converting prospects to leads that turn into financial clients.”

*Fiverr (correct designation) is a quick and inexpensive source for design/creative labor to make directed edits/designs, etc., so that the adviser can keep things branded. Gibbons said that he received good feedback from his firm’s consultants using Fiverr to create a custom video illustrating the importance of retirement income analysis.

*Vivino is an application that allows users to scan a wine list at a client dinner and make selections based on user ratings of the wine community.

*The Kwanti portfolio analysis tool compares current versus proposed allocations and breaks down fees.

This story is part of a 30-30 series on ways to upgrade your practice.

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