Adapting to the Remote Work Environment
Kelvin: I would like to introduce Sandra Richards. She’s at Morgan Stanley and she has many roles. She’s a managing director. Head of global sports entertainment, head of segment sales and engagement. Yes, any time Morgan Stanley needs to get something done, they call Sandra. And I’m so happy to call Sandra my friend. I mean, when I switched companies, she stayed with me, and I don’t know, we just got that personal connection. But she’s – her time is so valuable and I’m so happy that she’s here, and the fact is this event is going kind of great, and I’m looking forward to it continuing, and Sandra Richards, you are a modern revenue leader and you have our attention.
Sandra: So first of all, Kelvin, thank you so much. And by the way you were talking I thought I should also get a car, the way you were coming out there like Oprah. You are modern revenue leader and you get a car. So that’s exactly what I was expecting. So, maybe not a car but I do love Häagen-Dazs ice cream if you want to send me some of that and have it delivered. Small. It’s less expensive than a car.
So first of all, thank you so much. Really appreciate your friendship and partnership going back a number of years. And what we’ve been doing, and you’ve been with me when I was doing very little in small roles that Morgan Stanley has elevated and grown and kept the relationship, and you’ve been very supportive of that, so I just want to thank you in introducing me to this this group as well.
I didn’t even realize I was coming on. I had to quickly put my earbuds on because I was taking notes on everybody else. So I had to drop my pen; I was like, oh shoot, he’s saying my name.
So, you know, while quite busy one of the things that I’ve certainly learned in this space is the continuous learning. So my pen and my notebook was up and, you know, I have actually notes to share that I was actually really taking notes from everybody else speaking. That’s what I’ve found in this space for us. And so what I do at Morgan Stanley in our wealth management business is, yes, we’re on our global sports and entertainment practice that was started in 2014. It’s 190 financial advisors around the country that are designated to focus on sports and entertainment clients. And that is defined way beyond just the athletes or the entertainers that are in front of your camera, but those behind the scenes, the executives social media stars, YouTube stars, and the like.
And I do also the segment sales, which is effectively focusing on engaging the diverse and multicultural markets. And so the hybrid of the two has been really great, especially in the last couple of months, of marrying the two of those focuses together to try to elevate what we bring, not only for our financial advisors to bear for resources, but also what we do for our clients.
The one thing that I, you know, in this time with the virtual selling, the first thing that we did was certainly just check in with our team, and just taking a pulse of how everyone was doing. We wanted to make sure that, you know, the mindset was right before we started, going out and saying, OK, we want to quickly pivot in and go, but just to check in to see everyone was doing, and how everyone was faring, you know, between family standpoint and also, just, you know, business standpoint before we dived in, and pivot and start coming out the gate with all of this stuff if they weren’t ready for it. And thank goodness, you know, knock on wood, many of them were certainly OK and fine and ready to move forward.
So that was one of the things that we wanted to make sure that people were in a good headspace for where we wanted to go to next. So we quickly pivoted and realized that one time was going to be an asset for us. Because before, Kelvin, as you, you know, said, being very busy, and I’m quite sure everybody on this on this Zoom has been extremely busy pre-pandemic, but I’ve never really had time. I was constantly on a plane in my car driving to the city, on, you know, doing phone-calls. I don’t like taking the train so, you know, I was always stuck in traffic trying to get somewhere, and so, you know, was very busy.
So in this time, again, putting aside of, you know what this pandemic has bared, but on the blessing side was time became an asset, and I figured out how to navigate the time a little bit more. And marrying the time with technology became much more scalable for us. So we were able to do a lot of the events that we were doing in person, and leverage them to scale and reach a lot of people.
Because of course I’m based in New York – a lot of our stuff happened in New York – but I have national responsibility. So it’s hard for us to do, you know, bring an event with Mary J Blige to Idaho – probably not going to happen, but we were able to do it with technology and this time and scale. So everybody felt they were on the same playing field because they were all, you know, viewing this from the same technology standpoint.
So that was one of the things that we did, was looking at what we were already doing well and what was working and does it translate, and it certainly did. And so we took a lot of that stuff and translated a lot of our client events.
We didn’t do, for us in my role, certainly there’s the products and services that we offer, but more of the stuff that we focus on, especially in this space, is: what are our clients needing? What are they asking for? And it was more so a lot of holistic things that we were looking at for our clients like, you know, navigating your time, managing remote work environment, offering them the things that would help them live their best life in the current environment they were in. So not looking at let us talk to you about this next ETF and all of this other stuff; it wasn’t that. It was more so like, you know, what’s the health benefits of tea? And drinking tea.
And that would that was probably one of our best events is that we actually had a tea sommelier come in, virtually, and demonstrate how you actually make tea. I didn’t know I was burning my tea bags; apparently I was and sometimes that’s why my tea was tasting bitter, but now I learned how to do my tea and what the health benefits of tea was.
And those were the things that we were doing. Like, what else do our clients need? Learning how to meditate. We did that session online. We actually had a great event where we talked to Jill Scott with our annual Go Red breakfast which we ended up doing virtually. Again, learning so many nuggets from these people that typically we would only be able to hold, you know, 200 people in a room, but when we were able to scale we were able to meet 2-, 3,000 people at a time for these kinds of things.
So this kind of working, and as the previous speaker said, I think this is not going away – certainly not for me. It’s going to be hard for me to be on a plane. So if anybody wants to take my frequent flyer miles, I’m happy to donate them to a charity, because I will still probably be sitting right here at this – don’t tell anybody – sitting on this chair looking through Zoom.
But the one thing that I think that has been extremely important for us and getting our advisors, especially over this kind of medium, is how do you tell your story better? And how do you keep people interactive and engaged in this environment? And especially we – you know, we moved from telephone to Zoom to all this other technology. How are you engaging?
And there’s two, you know, two books that in particular that I will share with you, but what we did was make sure that we engage our advisors on things on how do you stay connected to your clients via social media, and how do you leverage content to keep yourself relevant in this space? Because you’re not getting to see them as much. But everybody certainly on social media doing a lot more than they were. How are you leveraging that space? And then the biggest thing for us is, again, how do you tell your story? And how do you tell your story that is captivating and getting people to convert, whether it’s your clients, to get you more business, or people that have been sitting on the fence for a long time and you haven’t been able to convert them. What is the story that you’re telling them in this environment?
And there was two books that I will share with you, and I will wrap up in a second, on storytelling that I think is pretty fascinating. And one of them we actually had a Zoom call, and I had to cut it off because of the Q&A was going so very long. One of them, her name is Kindra Hall, and she has a book out called Stories That Stick: How Storytelling Can Captivate Customers, Influence Audiences, and Transform Your Business. Very insightful book. She’s pretty dynamic herself. But, you know, how telling their stories get people to – and the elements of telling the story, and getting yourself out of the mind frame that you’re bragging about yourself or you’re talking too much, and really getting the point across. And not about you, but what’s the story that’s going to connect with who you’re trying to get – to convert to do anything, or influence to do anything?
And the other one is Unleashing the Power of Storytelling: Win Hearts, Change Minds and Get Results, by Rob Biesenbach. I don’t know if I’m saying his name right but I’ma find him to do an event with him too.
But I think, again, the art of storytelling, whatever business that you’re in, is how are you positioning your story to get people to convert and influence them to move to action? And that’s all of what we’re doing. Everything that we’re building: from our virtual events to our learning series for internally for our advisors, that is what we’re trying to get them to do is to tell the story better.
And it’s not the Morgan Stanley story. The Morgan Stanley story is there, but you’re in the brand. What is it about that that the brand that you can take that is applicable to you, that you’re going to extend to that that person? And so that’s what we’ve been really focused on and really excited about that, and I’m really happy to be here and I certainly will be taking notes on the other speaker. And Kelvin, just a reminder, it’s Häagen-Dazs Vanilla Swiss Almond, and I like the crunchies in the middle. Like, the cookie crunchies; you can add them a layer and then put them more. And if you want to put a scoop of brownie a la mode in there; it got a little bit alcohol but you can put that in there too. And then I’ll be fine.
Note: The following text is transcribed from the event audio. It’s largely accurate, but in some cases it may be a bit off due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It’s intended as an aid to understanding the event, but it shouldn’t be treated as an authoritative record.