The Covid-19 pandemic has changed lives as we know it, and while we all hope to return to some normalcy, there are a number of trends that will continue to shape our society, the economy and the businesses of the future .
For example, it’s time to ask how Covid-19 changed retirement. How has this affected finance professionals? Or customers? What do we have to keep in mind?
What trends have emerged from the pandemic and how can we use them – not just to show how adaptable we are or to differentiate our companies, but also to offer our customers better service and better returns?
Let’s start with some breakthrough trends for the financial professional and later turn to three post-pandemic trends that are affecting customers. These trends should be taken into account as we are now conducting business development and customer dialogues.
One of the changes concerns the way we now interact.
Many of us started our careers by meeting face-to-face and knee-to-knee clients and doing things like reflective listening and mirroring. But that has changed. People can no longer see your smile behind a mask, admire your degree or label wall, or view pictures of you in a newspaper or magazine.
Additionally, a new customer may or may not want to go into your office and assess your family or community engagements. Instead, they may only be able to see a small 4 x 4 feet behind your laptop. How are prospects going to make a first impression and what will replace a firm handshake, hug, or pat on the back in this post-pandemic era of retirement planning?
The reality is that a number of new trust factors have emerged that both new and existing customers will use in their relationships with us. That trust comes from the “social proof” you offer, your screen skills, and your personal marketing.
What if someone Googles your name? What’s coming up? Is it your LinkedIn profile, a personal Facebook page, your political abuse on Twitter, or your generic bio on a company website? More importantly, what would you like to come?
Most counselors don’t have an answer to that last question, but it’s the focus now. Too often consultants assume that their digital image reflects their personal perspective, but nothing could be further from the truth.
What happens next when people google your company name? Does it appear at the top of the page or is it buried at the bottom or on the dreaded second page? Is it displayed correctly in a map app? Did people rate your service as good or bad?
The main problem with this is that customers don’t necessarily hire your company as often as they hire you. They also tend to work with people who are similar to them or who share their values. That means your digital footprint should reflect the things that matter to you and your customers. You should be able to understand who you are and what is important to you by looking it up online.
The biggest loophole I see in counselors’ social evidence is the things they say in their online communications and how that contrasts with what people see. They may say things like “You are not just a number to us” or claim that you are “Holistic Financial Planners”. However, if you look at their online profiles and company websites, there is no evidence of the pudding. It suggests that they are just regular counselors leading the conversation but not going the way.
That means consultants need to take a close, strategic look at their digital footprint and ensure that their content, images, and video links contain social evidence that not only paints the right picture of them but also sets them apart.
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