The Do’s and Don’ts of Web Conferencing for Advisors

Sep 21, 2011

Over the last few years, client communications have become a major focus for all of us. Quality and timely communication has been a great tool for client retention, as well as a great prospecting tool.  The use of technology has allowed many advisors to leverage their time and resources when many “lesser” advisors are still trying to figure out what to say. 

Unfortunately, technology can be a double-edged sword.  Just recentlThe Do's and Don'ts of Web Conferencing for Advisorsy, an advisor was telling me how embarrassed he was when the online meeting he set up with a client didn’t work. He swore up and down that the meeting was set up correctly, but for some reason, they spent the first 15 minutes of the call finagling with buttons and saying, “Can you see my desktop now?”

Don’t let this happen to you.

Web-conferencing benefits are obvious — to both advisors and their clients. You can conduct cost-effective webinars from your office and reach a large group (or just a couple), and your clients get to sit back and relax in the comfort of their own homes and enjoy your presentation.

Now if you’re like most advisors that I meet, you’re interested in holding online events, but you’re not sure how to get started.  

First, a few tips on what *not* to do.

  • Don’t just do it. It sounds obvious, but ask your clients if this is something that they’d be interested in.  If your client base is older, they may prefer only face-to-face meetings, so stick with the tried and true. However, most under-50 investors actually prefer meeting online. Adapt to meet the needs of this segment and watch your business prospects grow.
  • Don’t “wing it.” Always test the technology before holding an event. Better yet – have your assistant set up the event (remember my mantra – spend your time on revenue-producing tasks).   Have the client test the technology BEFORE the scheduled meeting, too.
  • Don’t book back-to-back web meetings. Be sure to have time to prepare notes from the prior meeting and prep for your next call or meeting.

Now, take it from me. Here’s what works:

  • Identify a web conferencing service. Some of the most popular services are GoToMeeting, WebEx or  Live Meeting. Compare costs and ease of use. Most of these vendors offer free trials for you to test their service.  
  • Hold 1-2 meetings online per year, per client.  However, be sure to treat these meetings as you would if your clients were in your office. Have your assistant call to confirm the meeting, send an agenda ahead of time, and prepare presentation slides as necessary. 
  • Hold 1-2 educational group events per year. Just as you would with an “in-person” event, be sure to send invitations – either by email or mail – and provide your clients with plenty of notice so they put it on their calendars (and better yet – so they can forward it to a friend or family member). You can be creative with the topics you’d present online, but one thing that consistently works is an economic outlook in the first and third quarters. Since the event is online, you can also invite guest speakers to present.

For more tips on developing a framework for your firm’s communication and technology strategy, download SEI’s latest Wealthy Young Investor Quick Guide: Communicating with the Under-50 Investor

How are you incorporating online events into your practice?

John Anderson

John Anderson

John Anderson is the creator and lead author of Practically Speaking blog and Managing Director of Practice Management Solutions for the SEI Advisor Network.

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