Recorded on location at ACP's Annual Conference held October 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia, the latest episode of the ACP podcast series is a collage of ideas from a sampling of ACP financial planners.
Advisors were asked to discuss a couple of things:
- A top challenge they faced and how they successfully resolved the issue;
- The most important lesson they’ve learned from running a successful advisory practice during the pandemic.
Ten members were featured, offering thoughts on virtual client communications, working remotely, volatile markets, mindfulness, self-care, industry organizations, helpful software, recruiting solutions, and more.
Let’s dive in!
1. Live Your Best Life
Frankie Corrado, Managing Director and Principal at Robertson Stephens, shared the importance of prioritizing the best possible version of your life.
As the pandemic made life feel more valuable than ever before, he found that making the most of life became his top priority. For Frankie, this included working remotely, setting boundaries from work, taking a mindful approach, and encouraging employees to prioritize their own goals and dreams.
An emphasis on living life to the fullest also translates seamlessly into client-facing interactions because so much of the planning process focuses on clients' goals, values, and personal fulfillment.
2. Turn to Your Community
While the pandemic made many people feel more isolated, Sheila Padden, founder of Padden Financial Planning, turned to her community for help during troubling times. In her case, that was the Alliance of Comprehensive Planners.
Sheila describes ACP as an anchor in the storm during a chaotic time personally and financially for advisors and clients. The ACP community provided advice on what to do, how to do it, and the importance of maintaining a long-term perspective when it comes to personal finance.
3. The Benefits of Working Remotely
Linda Leitz, President of Peace of Mind Financial Planning, found that working remotely was a huge boon for her organization. Not only were employees more efficient when working from home, but they were also less stressed and had better work-life balance. Working from home also allowed her business to achieve greater geographic dispersion, downsize office space, and save money on rent.
4. Seamless Results via Workflows
Dani Parris-Exline, Financial Advisor at Peace of Mind Financial Planning, found that using workflows was vital for staying on top of client work.
These workflows allowed her team to gain greater visibility about all the different pieces of client activities and made it easier to switch tasks to various team members if anyone was out of the office. Plus, the workflows resulted in greater customer satisfaction and retention.
5. Developing a Connection with Clients
Jane Young, President of More Than Your Money, Inc., stressed the importance of not becoming too task-oriented and focused on the technical aspects of financial planning. Instead, she realized that clients needed to be heard and have the opportunity to talk.
She allows two hours to enable her clients to talk about whatever’s on their minds. Especially during Covid, it’s essential that clients can express their needs and concerns and receive support from their advisor.
6. The Perks of Working with a Third-Party Recruiting Firm
Kelly Adams, Founder of Harbor Light Planning, found that working with a third-party recruiting firm helped her find the right candidates for her business. The firm spent time interviewing Kelly and her colleagues to figure out the type of person they were looking for. By hiring a firm specializing in placing new-to-the-industry planners, she found employees who were a good culture fit.
Kelly also emphasized the benefits she gained from ACP throughout the pandemic. Friendships from ACP helped to support her during challenging times. According to Kelly, she “couldn’t imagine not having these people in my life.”
7. The Importance of Communicating Strategies with Clients
Mike Stanton, Principal of Stanton Financial Planning, highlighted the benefits of communicating strategies with clients. He shared that his clients were already positioned well when the pandemic first started.
He took the time to explain to his clients that once-in-a-lifetime events like the pandemic were why they had put savings into safe assets to get them through tumultuous times. Communicating with clients that there was already a plan in place helped to reassure them.
8. Staying Connected with Clients Online
Ross Schmidt, President of Aspen Wealth Planners, works with clients all over the country. As such, he wasn’t always able to meet with clients in person, even before the pandemic. During the past few months, he connected with them more often than ever through phone calls, zoom calls, and other mediums, which helped him further strengthen connections with clients. Ross also stressed the positive impact of getting outside, exercising, and changing your environment when working from home.
9. Using Hubly to Manage Tasks
Anabel Diaz, a Financial Associate at Natural Bridges Financial Advisors, recommended the workflow tool Hubly to her fellow financial planners. According to Anabel, “Hubly has been great at allowing us to be more efficient and not letting things fall through the cracks.” Reminders from Hubly improved her firm’s efficiency, helped them stay on track with clients, and resulted in happier, more satisfied clients.
10. The Importance of Intergenerational Marketing
Bert Whitehead, MBA, Founder of the Alliance of Comprehensive Planners, shared the importance of intergenerational marketing for financial planning firms. He recommended that the children of clients get their own advisors to help walk them through financial decisions. Doing so enables clients' children to explore financial matters without worrying about whether their parents were looking over their shoulders. It’s also an excellent way for advisors to grow their practice.
Bert also stressed the benefits of ACP membership during the pandemic. According to Bert, “I feel so much a part of this organization, and I think the pandemic accelerated that collegiality.”
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