Man on video call

6 Ways to Improve Virtual Meetings With Clients

The novelty has likely worn off, but virtual meetings are here to stay. This format has proved beneficial for everything from city council meetings to conferences, workshops to one-on-ones. Why? It’s accessible, scalable and cost-effective.

While the wealth management industry anticipates a graduated return to in-person meetings this year, we can’t discount video conferencing’s convenience for financial advisors. You can now keep up with clients who move or spend winter elsewhere. And you can skip a long work commute and spend more time with your family.

You’ve had more than a year to settle into your online meeting process. But some simple upgrades — including to your lighting, agendas and more — can make all the difference. Here’s how to make virtual meetings more effective in six simple steps, from setup to execution.

1. Update Your Zoom Room ...

If you haven’t updated your home or workplace office to be virtual-meeting friendly, now’s the time. Choose a clean, neutral background, and add in a little personality — some art, plants and color can go a long way. If your floor is tile, wood or cement, add a rug to improve the audio. Lighting is also key to enhancing virtual meetings. Opt for natural light if possible, or pick up a ring or panel LED light for a soft view.

2. … and Your Equipment

Your technology and its placement can make or break how professional your virtual meetings appear. Arrange your laptop or desktop so the camera is at eye level. This is the most flattering and most personal angle. (And remember to always look at the camera, not the screen, which lets your client know you’re engaged.) Now, let’s talk about audio. Your computer’s microphone likely isn’t half bad, but using headphones with a built-in mic is an instant upgrade for a more in-person sound. The next level: An external desk mic.

3. Make an Agenda

Set yourself up for success with a thorough agenda, one for you and one for your client. First, outline the goals for the meeting and any historical or portfolio documents you’ll need to review. You’ll also want to include any modification recommendations and industry changes to highlight. Your internal agenda can also serve as an efficient documentation tool — include key pieces of information like account numbers, meeting frequency and proposed portfolio changes to cut down on note-taking during the meeting.

4. Establish Client Privacy

Virtual meetings give you — and your client — the flexibility to take consultations on the go. But that doesn’t mean you should head to your favorite coffee shop’s patio. Consider what virtual setting gives you the same level of privacy as closed- and open-door meetings. Then, let your client know how you’re maintaining confidentiality.

5. Minimize Distractions and Multitasking

Would you check your cellphone during an in-person meeting? Absolutely not. Minimize — or, even better, close — all other browsers and applications. The last thing you want is an email or Slack message alert popping up to distract you and your client. And don’t even think about answering email! You may think you can type on the sly, but you’re wrong. If you need to type notes, let your client know.

6. Don’t Forget to Follow up

A virtual meeting is no less important than an in-person meeting. That means the importance of sending a follow-up note still stands. This simple tool keeps the line of communication open and builds rapport — something more important now than ever. That day or the next, summarize your meeting and outline the next steps, whether that’s setting up a next appointment or processing paperwork. Don’t forget to invite and quickly answer any lingering questions.


Virtual and In-person Support

Join our Farm Bureau Wealth Management Advisor team for the best technology platforms, tools and resources to help your grow your business. Contact us today to learn more.