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Best Practices for Client Meetings via Webinar

Conducting client meetings through a webinar is a great value-added service. It is an upgrade from telephone meetings and a time saver for both you and your clients who regularly meet with you face-to-face.

Just as with telephone meetings, meetings conducted via webinar are often shorter in length than in-person meeting. For clients who drive to your office for meetings, webinar meetings remove this added expenditure of time from their day. Clients who travel extensively can meet with you regularly as they can be virtually anywhere and still connect with you via webinar.

Here are some steps to take if you are not already conducting webinar meetings:

  1. Conduct due diligence on the various services available. WebEx, GoToMeeting, AdobeConnect and Join.me, to name a few, are well-known programs. Which are compliant with your company?
  1. Practice extensively before going live with clients. Practice with team members both inside and outside your office and geographic area. Be sure, as the advisor, you are on the receiving end of some practice webinars so you can experience what it is like to be a client. One complaint is the size of the cursor. Make sure it is visible to the client.
  1. Start with clients who are family members or friends, then move on to clients who are willing to be test subjects.
  1. Ask clients how they prefer to meet with you. Some may be fine with a telephone meeting, others may prefer to meet in person. Many will choose to conduct meetings via webinar. Once you conduct the first webinar meeting with a client, ask if he or she prefers to continue conducting meetings via webinar or if they prefer another mode.
  1. Start conducting webinar meetings during a light season. Don't initiate webinars as a new process during your busiest season.
  1. Prepare for webinar meetings with the same care and attention with which you prepare for face-to-face meetings.
  1. E-mail a link to the client to access the meeting the day before.
  1. An assistant can contact the client at the appointed time to make sure the client is signed on and ready for the meeting. The assistant signs on as the presenter and then, when the client is signed on and ready, assigns you as the presenter.
  1. The assistant can remain on the meeting, taking care of other work while the advisor is conducting his or her portion of the meeting, then "return" as the presenter at the end of the meeting to schedule the next appointment and handle any paperwork with the client. Your assistant will likely need two computer monitors for this to work, one for the webinar and one to conduct other work when he or she is not the presenter.
  1. Make certain you or your assistant closes out the meeting once completed, including the camera if you had it open.
  2. Because you can change presenters during the meeting, you can give control of the meeting to your client, such as when they need to make a change to their 401(k) allocation. They can do so during the meeting, and you can see that it has been done correctly.

Why conduct meetings via webinar

If paperwork doesn't arrive in time for a telephone appointment, you may have to reschedule the appointment. Conducting meetings via webinar avoids the need to send clients paperwork in order to conduct an effective meeting, thus eliminating the need to reschedule.

If you have ever had the following conversation with a client during a telephone meeting, you can save time and frustration for you and for your client by conducting the meeting via webinar:

Advisor: Turn to page four of the performance statement so we can review how you are tracking towards your retirement goal.

Client: Page four of which document?

Advisor: Page four of the performance statement.

Client: Which document is the performance statement?

With a webinar program, you can avoid this type of conversation.

Webinars are a great way to allow adult children who may be busy or live out of the area to participate in meetings with their parents. This is especially important if the client is at the early stage of diminished capacity.

Share your challenges and successes conducting client meetings via webinar

If you currently conduct meetings via webinar, please share your experience with me so I can pass along best practices that are not noted here.

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