Tech won't solve your problems. There isn't an app for that.
To those who've heard me say this, you may know what's coming.
For others, this may be the first time you will have heard me put forward this idea.
Let me explain...
I read a lot, and amongst the things I like to read are blogs.
Often I come across blogs with titles like:
"10 Apps Advisers Should Use Now"
"The Best Tech Tools To Make Advisers More Efficient"
"The Killer Web Platform To Improve Your Client Engagement"
..and off they go, wheeling off a list of apps or tools which can be used to improve conversion or do the work of client engagement.
The problem with this is it's most not true.
It can be, but at a fundamental, "turnkey" level, no.
I also have to hold my hand up here, because it's what I used to talk about too.
The Sins Of A Past Life
When I first started Audere, one way I was able to "get it out there" was speaking.
I would approach people who ran events with a list of things that I could speak about. At the time, I was into more apps than the App Store (thanks Product Hunt) and it was a hot topic that I knew more about than most.
It was the thing that got me the opportunity to be on stage.
I even produced an eBook about it - 100 Ways To Run Your Business Better - also crammed with apps, but I don't do it anymore and with very good reason.
Square plugs in plug holes
One big issue that often stops businesses from achieving the levels of efficiency the want or the client engagement they need, is they look in the wrong places to make it happen.
Instead of working out what they're actually trying to do, they get given a list of all the ama-zing tools, this calculator, that app, and a hundred other things promising functionality, features and utility!!!!
...and very little guidance on how to use it in an advice business.
For the record, I also think this is a gap in terms of cashflow software and financial planning CRMs.
If you want to see an example of a software provider who bucks this trend, check out the platform upon which our website and members' site is built, Kajabi.
You have to get pretty far down the page to see the discussion start to be about features.
The proposition is centered on how the tool will help you run a coaching business in a very specific way.
It's about the business model first, technology second.
As Bill Gates famously said, "When you introduce technology to an already inefficient process it magnifies the inefficiency. When you introduce it into an efficient process, it magnifies the efficiency".
Slowly step away from the tech...
When you inject the latest apps into something without knowing where it fits, you're asking to be disappointed.
You could find the perfect tool for online forms (Jotform), but it won't shift the dial if clients don't fill it out, or you have to manually enter the data into XPlan on the backend.
Your Canva subscription might produce beautiful infographics, but if no one is reading them because the topics aren't completely relevant to them, what's the point?
That service you pay a few hundred bucks a month to for digital content might seem effortless, but what if the content is worthless to 95% of your "readers"?
Your calculator may crunch through all the numbers in your first appointment, but who cares unless the discussion is actually getting to the heart of why the client is there in the first place?
Efficiency is rarely about what you add, any more than engagement is about the tool you use.
This isn't about having a crack.
I'm not writing this to criticise other's efforts to add value to advice firms.
I also enjoy sharing with people tools, hacks, and tips that can make manual processes more streamlined and put advisers front and centre with clients.
However, I also know from experience how checklists of potential apps can send people down rabbit holes months deep if not preceded by the starting question...
"What am I trying to achieve here?"
That might mean your starting point is actually:
- Making a list of all the ways you'd like to improve client engagement. Maybe it's about getting them reading your emails more frequently and respond?
- Maybe you'd like to have more hits to your website, more people signing up to your list.
- Maybe you'd like people to come into your first appointment more motivated, clear on what you're going to cover and primed to make a decision.
- Maybe you'd like them coming in for a review having provided you with information in advance or at least ready to talk about the things that need to be discussed.
All of these could be aided by tech, but none of them is at the core a "tech problem".
I could tell you a dozen apps to use in your first appointment... but what if the real problem is clients are not coming in understanding what you're going to cover?
A tool isn't going to solve the problem if the issue isn't tech-related.
Go Analogue before you go digital. It'll change your business.
I hope this helps.
If you'd like a practical step, we are thinking of making available for free use a copy of our module that addresses this, Taming Your Tech.
For those of you who saw me speak with Ben Marsham at the FPA Event a year or so ago, you may be familiar with the content, and it will help you get clear on what your Tech Map is and should be before you dive into solutions.
It will be available for anyone who is a practice owner and access will be available for six weeks.
The cost of this will be $0 (just in case you're wondering).
If you'd like to get free access, drop me an email at [email protected] and assuming you meet the profile, we'll set you up with access to the module when we go live on.