In a digital world, investors are inundated with information daily. Look at the past year – strategies to encourage online purchasing worked wonders as e-commerce boomed and research is now pointing to a new online engagement trend that will outlast the COVID-19 pandemic. But, are all investors happy only interacting online? And are investment professionals prepared  to move to a digital-only world? Let’s dive into how you can cultivate your professional relationships in a digital environment.

Why we love digital

The most successful digital applications have one thing in common, they are extremely customized. I always gloat about my favourite apps and how they feel in tune with my life. For example, Google Maps allows me to save my favourite places for quick access, which is a great user experience. And we continue to use applications like this because they make our lives easier.

What we’ve learned, however, is that investors also want to feel understood, and digital applications can only go so far. Digital tools can help with delivery and engagement, but to truly nurture a relationship, advisors need to move from customized to personalized.

How to be personal while not in person

The basis of relationships is what we know and understand about an individual and how we implement that into our interactions. It's the human aspect. We ask, “have you watched that new true crime documentary?” to the person who raved about the latest Netflix series, or we send an article about the top five doughnut shops in your area to the friend with a sweet tooth.

When it comes to making important decisions that affects people financially, a personalized relationship will never get old. Whether it’s a personal or business decision, when we examine options that will have a significant long-term effect, we need to speak to an expert that understands us, our situation and our needs. These experts have honed their business and skills over the years, but what has kept investors coming back is the personalized experience they deliver.

Let’s look at the key aspects to a successful business relationship in a digital world:

1. Hyper-personalization

What distinguishes the best among the rest is the ability to deliver a hyper-personalized approach. The process involves ongoing, in-depth engagements by both the advisor and the investor. The advisor takes their time understanding what is going on personally, financially and professionally with their clients. How do you show your clients and prospects that you take a hyper-personalized approach online? Tell stories, use testimonials and show that you value clients’ differences. 

2. Expertise

Investors are willing to pay a premium for experts, which is why your longest standing and best relationships are with the clients that trust you explicitly. Becoming knowledgeable and well respected in your field is crucial, but it doesn’t stop there. Showcasing your value proposition in a way that is tailored to the clients’ needs (here comes that hyper-personalization concept again) will ensure that clients want to maintain a relationship with you and tell their friends and loved ones to do the same.

In a digital world, this is about education. Taking complicated financial topics and translating them in a simple, jargon-free way can demonstrate your expertise and show clients and prospects that you’re relatable. The best advisors do this not just in person, but through blogs, social media posts and webinars.

3. High engagement

In a digital world, it’s of the upmost importance to engage your clients frequently. There will likely be fewer in-person meetings moving forward, which offers fewer opportunities to solidify the relationship. However, it opens another opportunity to engage your clients on various online platforms. Whether through email or social media, you can keep clients engaged with updates, articles and videos. This will increase your visibility, expertise and reinforce the relationship. Moreover, high engagement on your part reduces the chances that a client will leave for a competitor.

4. Uniqueness

Be unique in your value offering. Simply put, what makes you stand out from the competition? Help your clients understand what attracts them to you and the impact of your value offering. They should be able to vocalize this on their own and be proud to have a business relationship with you! Try starting with a client survey to see what your clients really think, and then incorporate your preferred positioning into your meeting process. Consider saying, “I’ve had an increase in referrals lately, and because of that, it’s important to me that you understand how I can help.” 

Putting it all together

A good advisor-client relationship is hard to beat. It is an accumulation of years of hard work, good memories and trust. By embracing the digital era, you can enhance those relationships – so be personable, be an expert, be engaging (often) and be unique.