Creating Virtual Interactions with Clients and Prospects
• eMoney Communications Team • July 6, 2021
Events are a valuable element of how advisors build relationships with clients. Whether it’s a meeting, an appreciation banquet, or a learning seminar, any of these event interactions offer a meaningful opportunity for advisors to connect with their clients or prospects.
Embracing Virtual Events
While 2020 taught us all many things, for advisors a key learning was that face-to-face interaction is no longer the only way to build a relationship. As we look beyond a climate of forced virtual activity, we can realize some of the benefits and appreciate the conveniences that connecting virtually has brought.
The ease of clicking a link to connect from the comfort of your home afforded many people the opportunity to do more with their time. Without having to travel to an event, or host at an offsite location, advisors could utilize their time differently. Even perhaps maximize the number of events they could attend or host in a day. Same goes for clients.
And while virtual events are not new, they have certainly come a long way over the last 15 to 20 years. There used to be many different formats and indeed different levels of quality, but technology has seemingly caught up that they are now a viable and accessible medium. Virtual events are here to stay.
First, Find Your ‘Why’
When planning any event you must first and foremost get down to the ‘why’ you are hosting. What’s your purpose? Why should anyone care? How will you make those attending feel? When you embrace why, you’re engaged in your activity and express your passion about it to others to make that connection. Find your purpose and keep that as a guiding principle in both your messaging and in your planning.
Setting Expectations for a Virtual Event
It’s always a good idea to level-set with your audience about what to expect from a virtual experience. Inevitably they may have questions—’what’s the experience going to be like?’ or need a better understanding of how it may be different from an in-person event.
At eMoney, when we transitioned a traditionally in-person event to virtual we decided to create a video to walk people through the look and feel. Because they had the in-person event experience already in their mind, we had to define what this virtual experience would be. Once we released the video and a few additional follow-up communications, people started to get it and it was reflected in our registration numbers.
Figuring Out What Works (and What Doesn’t) for a Successful Virtual Experience
Planning lead time for an event can be one to two years out. But the reality is you can only plan with what you know. Rather than going into the unknown and setting yourself up for an unexpected pivot, if there is some uncertainty it’s best to plan for virtual.
Next, trial and error is a natural process to go through as you transition to virtual events. If your event is all about networking—think smaller scale. Networking with a group of 10-12 people feels like a sweet spot, maybe 20 max. The key to do this in a virtual environment is offering a breakout session for people to connect.
Make decisions around what will make the virtual experience valuable and enjoyable. At eMoney, that forced us to look at session times, speakers, and entertainment, to name a few. We cut down our sessions from an hour to 30 minutes. This not only allowed people more time for breaks in between, but we were able to maximize a day at the conference with more sessions. We also offered a cooking demonstration and sent a cutting board out to all participants in advance. This got people excited about something that would get them up and out of their chair, and exposed them to a new experience.
And lastly, virtual doesn’t necessarily mean cheaper. Yes, you may not have to pay for a venue and food, but there are other expenses that will be a tradeoff. You need to pay for the technology. A high-quality partner or provider that will give your end-users a reliable, successful experience will be worth it.
The Future for Advisor’s Events
Going forward, we expect to see a healthy mix of both in-person and virtual events. Whatever the medium, always remember the goal is the same—build out a lasting relationship and memorable client experience.
For more great insights from our lineup of knowledgeable speakers, check out more episodes from our podcast That Makes Cents.
And for more information about this year’s virtual eMoney Summit, visit: emoneyadvisor.com/summit2021/.
DISCLAIMER: The eMoney Advisor Blog is meant as an educational and informative resource for financial professionals and individuals alike. It is not meant to be, and should not be taken as financial, legal, tax or other professional advice. Those seeking professional advice may do so by consulting with a professional advisor. eMoney Advisor will not be liable for any actions you may take based on the content of this blog.
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