As financial professionals, meeting the ever-changing needs of your clients and prospects can be daunting. How do you continue to support a client that has moved out-of-state? What if a client refers their adult son or daughter who lives across the country?
Fortunately, there are countless solutions that will aid in your efforts to remain in contact with your long-distance clients and their heirs. Keep in mind, you must do your research and ensure that you are licensed in the states for which you are contacting clients via phone or the web prior to conducting the meetings. Failure to conduct your licensing due diligence (both insurance & securities) may result in violations of cross-border sales regulations and other related penalties. Check with your compliance department before conducting online meetings with clients and/or prospects.
Once you have the green light, here are four commonly used webinar/desktop sharing applications available to help you better serve your clients online.
This free application allows you to present to anyone, anywhere, at any time. The free version allows up to 10 meeting participants, and can support screen sharing, Internet calling, share control, chats and file transfer. It can be viewed on iPad/iPhone or Android devices.
The Pro version allows you to customize your personal link and design a custom background with your company branding, and includes advanced features such as:
- Meeting scheduler
- Meeting lock
- Annotations (ability to write and mark-up your screen for improved presenting
- Desktop app
- The ability to present from an iPad
The Pro version is $19 per month, or $13 per month if paid annually.
One of the most widely recognized and used platforms for web conferencing and online meeting, Citrix Go-to-Meeting offers a reliable platform for conducting your meetings via the web. Their platform also allows you to present from an iPad through their mobile app. Your clients can join free from a Mac, PC, iPad, iPhone, or Android device. The Go-to-Meeting platform allows for up to 25 participants.
Go-to-Meeting allows for screen sharing, which you can use to give PowerPoint or Keynote presentations, run software applications, and use a wealth of other files or applications that you may want to share.
To get started, they offer a 30-day free trial, however their plans start at a much higher price than other platforms. At $49 per month (or ($468 if paid annually), this may not be the best place to start your long distance web meetings with clients and prospects.
Perhaps one of the lesser known options for online or mobile meetings is FuzeBox. In addition to desktop and app screen sharing like its competition, FuzeBox also allows multi-party HD video conferencing in the event you want to get face-to-face with clients and their heirs, without having to be in the same room together. FuzeBox has also made their application accessible from mobile devices such as the iPhone, iPad, and Android devices. Reasonably priced with plans ranging from free to $39 per month (Fuze Business), FuzeBox is sure to meet the needs of the tech-savvy financial professional aimed at focusing on the Gen X & Y crowd.
Probably the least known tool available for online meetings is Google+ Hangouts. You can start an online video meeting with up to 15 participants from your Gmail account or your calendar and it’s easy to facilitate from your laptop, mobile phone or tablet. This platform also provides the ability to screenshare presentations and applications with your audience. Although this tool is FREE, it comes with some restrictions. In order to utilize this tool, you must have a Google+ account, which requires you to set up an account with Google (includes Gmail). For some, this may be a deterrent, however for those who already have a Google+ account; this may be a great immediate solution for your online meetings.
For tech-savvy advisors that focus on the younger demographics or want to connect with the heirs of existing clients, online meetings may be a great added service to your practice. Each platform mentioned has the capability to record your session for those who wish to document the meeting. As I stated earlier, it is important to consult with your compliance department before engaging in online meetings to ensure you are not in violation of any FINRA or SEC regulations. And, as a best practice: Don’t conduct online meetings that could be construed as sales or planning meetings unless you are properly licensed in the state(s) of your intended audience prior to conducting the meeting.
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