In our"Remote Selling is Here to Stay"study we analyzed survey results from more than 500 financial advisors (conducted in association with Horsesmouth) to identify how advisors are now thinking about engagements with asset managers as many professionals are returning to the office. The results may surprise you.
Our analysis showed that the number of advisors that say they are willing to meet in person with a sales representative from an asset manager increased from 30% in 2020 to 60% in 2021, while the number of advisors that are only willing to meet remotely dropped from 50% a year ago to 29% today.
On the surface, that seems like great news for asset managers who are eager to get back into advisor offices; however, though advisors say they are willing to have in-person meetings, the reality is that they will limit in-person meetings to only some individuals—and when they have to choose, their clients will get priority.
Nearly all (98%) financial advisors in our study now say they are willing to have at least some in-person meetings with their clients, but just over half (51%) of them are willing to meet with a representative from an asset manager in person some of the time. What this means is that even though firms are transitioning back into offices and returning to face-to-face engagements, it may not translate into more sales visits from asset manager salespeople.
Some channels will be more welcoming to visits from asset managers. Six in 10 advisors at regional broker-dealer firms, for example, say they are willing to meet in person with a salesperson but just 1 in 3 independent RIA advisors are willing to do the same.
The type of meeting and those attending the meeting may increase advisor preferences for in-person engagements. Advisors in our survey indicated that they are more open to in-person engagement when the discussion is more technical—such as learning about complex products or due diligence meetings.
Advisors were also more open to meeting with specific salespeople whom they trust or that have a history of providing value in meetings, but their overwhelming preference, in all cases, is to meet virtually or via the phone when possible. On average, about 60% of advisor interactions with their clients over the coming year will be virtual/remote.
So, asset manager salespeople have two barriers to overcome before getting a foot in the door. First, they must have a good working relationship with the advisor because advisors are limiting in-person meetings mainly to salespeople they already know and trust. Second, asset manager salespeople need to focus on helping advisors deliver good digital experiences for their clients by making it clear that the asset manager can provide a good experience to theadvisorand has content and tools the advisor can use when engaging virtually with clients.