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Powering Communication

November 2018 
by John Diehl

Evolving technology, such as robo-advisors and do-it-yourself investment platforms, has made investing available to everyone, and has made it necessary for financial advisors to demonstrate value beyond investment picking.

Luckily, financials advisors have the power of two-way communication; unlike technology, advisors have the ability to listen to their clients and respond by providing personalized solutions for living within their financial means.

From a recent survey of financial advisors, we found that communication between advisors and their clients is escalating, and that trend is expected to continue. In this vein, technology doesn’t need to be a threat to advisors, but rather a tool they can use to enhance their practice. Here are a few ways advisors can leverage technology to communicate more efficiently and conveniently with their clients.

1. Video Chat
Our survey found that advisors prefer having face-to face meetings with clients, but, coupled with the expectation of increased communication demands, scheduling exclusively in-person meetings may not be sustainable. Advisors should offer the option of video calls to clients, using tools like Skype or FaceTime. Having a virtual meeting can be a more convenient way for the advisor and the client to still be able to communicate face-to-face, but without all the hassle.

2. Social Media
Social media platforms, like LinkedIn, allow advisors to engage with potential clients they may otherwise not have access to, such as millennials or more geographically dispersed people. Creating long-form posts or sharing articles or relevant content on LinkedIn is a great way to have that personalized communication touch point while reaching many more people. Advisors should make sure their profile is up to date, and take some time to learn about the best ways to build their online presence.

3. Webinars
Holding educational workshops to guide clients on issues such as aging, technology, or market updates have become an important way for advisors to differentiate themselves. While three-quarters of advisors say they do host sessions annually, they should consider hosting them as online webinars. Webinars provide all the benefits of an in-person session: having that face-to-face, and being able to answer questions, while being able to reach a wider audience. Taking it a step further, advisors could email a recording of the webinar to clients who weren’t available to attend.

While how we communicate may be changing over time, our need for it has not wavered, and is still top of mind for clients when it comes to working with their financial advisor. By including technology in their practice, advisors can more conveniently, but continually, communicate with clients in a more personalized way.

John Diehl
CFP®, CLU®, ChFC®
Senior Vice President, Strategic Markets Hartford Funds

John Diehl is senior vice president of Strategic Markets for Hartford Funds. He and his team are responsible for engaging and educating financial advisors and their clients about current and emerging opportunities in the financial-services marketplace. These opportunities range from tactical strategies in areas such as retirement-income planning, investment planning, and charitable planning, to anticipating and preparing for long-term demographic and lifestyle changes. John also oversees Hartford Funds’ relationship with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology AgeLab.

John joined the company in 1988 and was promoted to assistant vice president in 1991 and vice president in 1997. He was named senior vice president in 2007, while he led the Retirement and Wealth Consulting Group, which was responsible for building awareness and knowledge of retirement challenges and the latest planning strategies to address them. In 2012, John was named Senior Vice President, Strategic Markets; in this role, he devotes his efforts to serving the needs of financial advisors and their clients.

John has been widely quoted in consumer and trade publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Financial Planning, and On Wall Street. He has also appeared as a featured guest on CNBC and Bloomberg Television to discuss his views on retirement-related topics.

John attended Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in economics. He has been a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®) since 1991. In addition, he holds the Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC®) and Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU®) designations. He is also FINRA Series 6, 7, 63, and 26 registered and holds a life and variable insurance license.

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John Diehl is a registered representative of Hartford Funds Distributors, LLC.

Check the background of this firm/individual on FINRA's BrokerCheck.

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