Mastering the Virtual Practice: Prospecting Remotely

Quarantines and social distancing have impacted many aspects of retail practice management but none more than prospecting for new business. Faced with the Do Not Call Registry and a growing resistance to unsolicited marketing, financial advisors had turned to social networks to discover potential clients. But now advisors aren’t attending parties or connecting at face-to-face meetings, and most business-building activities have been de-emphasized or discontinued. So how does an advisor gain an introduction to a prospective client?

Ironically, COVID-19 has created opportunities for building your business. No one expected the massive economic impact of the pandemic, and many successful investors realized that they were largely unprepared for the financial consequences. Even many clients with long-standing advisory relationships discovered that their trusted advisor was ill-equipped for the magnitude of the market disruption. It’s our belief that as optimism about a speedy recovery increases, clients will continue to feel vulnerable and discontent because, once activated, negative feelings tend to stick around for a long time.

Sometimes Short-Term Is the Answer

There’s some good news. Clients may now be willing to consider a new financial relationship. Recognize this opportunity and adapt your message. Don’t sell long-term, comprehensive planning and investment services; instead, offer a more immediate, problem-solving approach through a virtual outreach program.

To help you in this endeavor, the AllianceBernstein Advisor Institute offers a simple prospecting tool called the Financial Uncertainty Preparedness Checklist. This checklist catalogs more than 40 investment-management and wealth-management issues that uniquely successful families should address in order to have greater confidence that nothing important is missing from their financial plan.

Importantly, because the COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative impact across almost every portfolio, most investors recognize that they weren’t properly prepared for the financial disruption that occurred. This means they’re likely to welcome a way to safeguard their finances and are ready to take action to protect their wealth in the future. Just as portable-generator sales go up dramatically after a hurricane, the desire to bring order to the chaos of their personal financial lives has been galvanized for a huge number of successful investors who crave greater security in an uncertain world.