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The Human Advisor Prevails in a Digital World


The Human Advisor Prevails in a Digital World

“The robots are coming, the robots are coming!” We have heard it a zillion times in recent years, and yet here we are, still diligently filling out market development and client fact-finding exercises the same way my grandfather did in the 1950s when he was selling insurance for Prudential. Even though we have made some significant advancements on the product side of the business since then, our industry feels a lot more like 1984 than 2017, and I am by no means referring to Orwell.

It’s not (yet) a world of machines that can think and operate on their own, but it’s undeniable that we live in a digital world. There are 1.94 billion monthly active users on Facebook, LinkedIn claims 500 million community members, over 1 billion people use Gmail, and, according to the U.N., more people own a mobile phone than they have access to a working toilet. Our ‘digital rolodex’ is massive and it continues to grow; we are slowly drowning in data and are struggling to make sense of it all.

So, what does it all mean for financial advisors and insurance agents? And how do we begin to make sense of the mountain of information that we have at our fingertips?

For starters, the world around us is much bigger than we can comprehend on our own. However, according to a study performed by researchers at Cornell University and Facebook, that world has become much easier to navigate. The degrees of separation between any two people on earth is no longer six. It’s 3.74, and it will only continue to get lower. That means you are less than four introductions away from the likes of Aaron Rodgers, Lady Gaga, and the Queen. For an industry built on referrals, that’s a pretty impressive statistic to think about.

Secondly, thanks to the power of new(er) technologies like machine learning and cloud computing, we can ingest, analyze, and present massive amounts of information in a matter of seconds.  That’s very cool and exciting for our industry, but it’s useless until we figure out practical applications for it. Ultimately, the solution is a tool that leverages the most innovative and forward-thinking technologies and presents the data in a beautiful and relatable manner, more visual and appealing like Instagram and Pinterest and less like traditional, stodgy business applications.

Finally, advisors can leverage this information to be more human, not less. To be authentic, to show empathy, to identify shared interests and commonalities, to be more sincere and less cheesy by acting as a trusted advisor and not a character straight from Glengarry Glen Ross. That is the irony in today’s world. Yes we live in a digital universe, but when we’re armed with information, not data, we can be more human than ever before.

The robots are still coming, but they will not possess the human element that is so vital to the advisor’s success. So go ahead, crunch those numbers, robots. We’ll just be over here connecting with other humans, where the real business is done.

Want to learn more about being more human in a digital world? Visit us at or feel free to drop me an email to connect!

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