The pandemic deeply impressed upon me the power of process in driving growth, working with clients, marketing my business and even in working from home.
I was using a process I created before the pandemic, but recently I’ve been using it with many more qualified clients. The goal of the process is to strategize how to liquidate a client’s assets so returns are maximized while keeping their financial goals in mind. Putting away money is the easy part, I tell my clients. Knowing how to withdraw it efficiently is what we want to help you with.
In essence, my process accomplishes three things:
1. Ascertains the adequacy of the current financial situation
2. Creates a cash flow projection until age 85
3. Suggests and plans the decumulation of current and future assets to fund their ideal retirement
This process gives my clients clarity and confidence that they will be able to fulfill their retirement goals.
Shifting client attitudes
We’ve also shifted our processes based on changing client concerns. Since the pandemic began, I’ve noticed two general shifts of attitudes. The first is a renewed focus on the importance of protection, especially in terms of continuity of income if their health is affected. The pandemic has generated urgency around protections such as insurance, and my clients have been concerned about insufficient coverage.
Secondly, retirement has also become top of mind for many people. Clients have more time to review their retirement portfolios and to rebalance their financial holdings. My clients want to maintain income without sacrificing their quality of life. How to find that balance has sparked many meaningful conversations. In both cases, it’s been important to methodically work through the process of examining their holdings and goals.
Changing marketing focus
In terms of marketing, social media exposure rose as we shifted to working from home. We took the chance to make ourselves more visible by sharing financial planning tips and organizing financial education outreach and webinars. Also, clients are more willing to meet via video calls as opposed to physical meetings, and our activity rate (and closing incidences) actually went up 25% compared to this time last year!
I schedule video meetings with clients to review their portfolio and discuss the possibilities to address their financial needs. Webinars on financial education are also held more frequently to enhance clients’ financial planning knowledge. Because of that, we have many clients inquire about how they can continue to build their portfolios. At the same time, recruitment is on the rise as the uncertainty of employment in other sectors is a concern for many. We took the opportunity to share the wonders of this career.
Adjusting personal time
In my personal life, I’m grateful that I get to spend more time with the family. I have three children, ages 8, 6 and 4. Now I can send them to school, eat meals and share quality time with them.
Within the family, we’ve worked out “the business district” of the house. My wife and kids give me the space I need when I’m working or meeting with clients virtually. Some of my clients even asked to say hello to the kids, and I can easily show the clients my family. I find that it enhances the relationship with some of my clients. Productivity is not affected, and I can bond with the family at the same time.
Yeoh Cheng Huann, ChFC, CLU, of Singapore, has been an MDRT member since 2013.