Written By: Kay Lynn Mayhue | President

As the coronavirus pandemic took hold last year, many businesses quickly shifted their operations from a centralized office space to a dispersed workforce. Advisors were forced to quickly adapt their approach, adjusting their workflow to an entirely digital setup. Now, a year after the start of the pandemic, many advisors are still working outside of a traditional office space in some capacity. According to research from Broadridge Financial Solutions, 60% of advisors reported still working remotely as of last fall and 27% noted they did not yet have plans to return.

While most advisors have adjusted their process, the digital environment poses some challenges, especially for growth-oriented advisors. There is no substitute for sitting across the table from prospects and getting to know them in a more personal way. With new clients, time must be devoted to gaining familiarity and building trust. They want to be able to see your office and meet face-to-face. Web-based meetings simply aren’t a direct replacement for this interaction.

Nevertheless, the new environment still presents some opportunities for advisors to up-level their prospecting and business development strategies. Here are our tips:

Tip 1: Leverage the extra hours in your day

Without a daily commute, and with drastically reduced travel to see clients, advisors have more time available to devote to building their book of business. For disciplined and growth-minded advisors, this can lead to greater production, as you seek out leads within your network, find ways to connect with new targets and design new strategies to approach prospects.

Tip 2: Welcome introductions to the next generation

The ability to seamlessly reach the next generation or connect with a client’s spouse is incredibly important in building and maintaining your business. As more advisors shift their prospecting efforts to Zoom and other digital mediums, it creates an opportunity for clients to invite their spouses, children or other family members to join discussions with you, providing a unique and low-pressure introduction to very key prospects. Embrace these opportunities to form early connections.

Tip 3: Invest in building your online presence

The shift to digital means people are spending more time online, both personally and professionally. Now is a great time to consider how you present yourself. Prospective clients will naturally review your firm’s website and team biographies, but it makes sense to clean up your other online pages as well, namely your LinkedIn profile. There are plenty of online resources available for building a strong profile, and — when in doubt — ask your compliance team for some insight.

Tip 4: Develop a stronger relationship with your mentor

Aligning with the right mentor, one who inspires and motivates you, can propel your career. At Merit, we have a long history of facilitating mentor/mentee relationships to help guide employees as they grow in their careers and seek opportunities to connect with colleagues outside of their immediate working teams. This structure has proven invaluable throughout the pandemic, providing mutual learning opportunities as we shifted to the remote or hybrid environment, and collectively sought new strategies to grow. Successfully adjusting to the digital environment is something to be celebrated and no matter what the future holds, there are important lessons we can take with us into the next phase of business interactions and development. We support advisors in growing their businesses through our Independent Advisor Partners program, acquisitions, and ongoing coaching and mentorship. Contact our team to learn more about how we can help you or call us at 1.866.607.3650.