Strong partnerships with local professionals can be a source of new prospects. These well-connected professionals, or “centers of influence” (which we’ll refer to as COIs), commonly include CPAs and attorneys. They’re a good source for prospects for you because they likely have clients who need help with financial planning. Co-hosting events with COIs gives their clients the opportunity to see your expertise. And your clients get to see your COI’s expertise.
Social distancing has made prospecting in person difficult. Your COI is likely facing prospecting challenges as well. However, it doesn’t mean prospecting events are off the table. Consider hosting a joint virtual event with a COI.
First, Why You Should Host A Virtual Event With A COI
If you co-hosted events with a COI before the pandemic, you may have seen the value of this strategy firsthand. It tends to work well because when both of you invite clients, you multiply the number of attendees. Attendees can enjoy socializing as well as hearing different perspectives from you and the partnering COI. If they’re intrigued by your presentation, they may inquire about you and your services, paving the way to building new client relationships.
But In 2020, Everything’s Changed
The pandemic has made events more challenging but certainly not impossible. And because of the uncertainty that abounds, continuing to hold these types of events is as important as ever. Your clients, as well as your COI’s clients, need guidance and perspective. They may have experienced extreme volatility before, but it wasn’t wrapped in a pandemic, which is likely compounding their concerns. Co-hosting virtual events with a COI is a great way to provide clarity and relief to clients and prospects who are feeling anxious and confused. Together, you can still bring valuable, straightforward information, and welcome social interaction, when clients and prospects are confined to their homes. It just requires a different approach.
Second, How To Execute A Virtual Event
Nowadays there are multiple options for hosting COI virtual events, but in this article we’ll focus specifically on webinars. If you haven’t yet done a webinar, it may sound a little intimidating. We’ll give you some pointers on the technical aspects of virtual meetings later. But first, let’s go through the process of executing a virtual event. Some steps will be similar to hosting an in-person event while others will be quite different.
Steps To Executing Your Virtual Event
Third, COIs You Should You Partner With
If you’re just starting to do virtual events, you’ll naturally want to partner with COIs you had a relationship with before the pandemic. But after you’ve done a few virtual events and become more comfortable with the process, consider expanding your COI network. Typically, advisors partner with CPAs and attorneys. But why not expand your COI relationships by reaching out to other professionals in your area?
Other COIs to Consider
To locate these specialists, you can simply do an internet search. Then, place a phone call or pitch the idea of co-hosting an event via email. Explain how you’ve done virtual events successfully in the past, and why they were successful for your COI (and you).
What If Our Attendees Have Technology Issues?
There’s always a chance that attendees will encounter issues when logging in or getting things to work during the event. Have a person on your team, who’s familiar with your webinar platform, available for clients to call if they run into difficulties. That person can also help audience members who enter questions via a chat box. This can be helpful if other attendees are having a similar issue (e.g., no sound). For these events, attendees won’t require any special equipment, just devices like a laptop or tablet—things they’ve likely been depending on more heavily than usual lately.
Three Things to Remember About Virtual COI Events
First, social-distancing guidelines triggered by the pandemic have nixed the opportunity for co-hosting in-person events with COIs, but virtual events are a great alternative. Second, virtual events are a flexible and cost-effective way to continue prospecting efforts with COIs—they just require a different approach. Third, partnering with COIs you have existing relationships is a natural way to go, but you can also pitch the idea to other COIs to expand your network and increase opportunities.
Virtual Events Are Becoming the Norm
Virtual events have become extremely popular. Before social distancing guidelines were implemented, almost 70% of advisors surveyed said they were already using video conferencing.* The pandemic has increased the use of conference calls while actually accelerating the use of webinars and video conferences. Even those who never hosted or attended a virtual event have begun to embrace them. Using this method can keep you in step with the competition, and you may even choose to make it a regular practice as you and your clients experience the benefits.
|1||Get familiar with your firm’s webinar platform|
|2||Schedule a call with your COI to discuss the benefits of co-hosting a virtual event|
|3||Download the "Never Stop Prospecting" workbook for additional ideas on prospecting during the pandemic|
1Follow your firms guidelines regarding use of webinar platforms and social media.
2Note: Before sending links, check with your firm’s compliance department regarding guidelines.
*Technology is redefining that client-financial advisor relationship, cnbc.com, 10/19
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