I have written about the future ready financial advisor and one critical element always comes up in discussions with top advisors and top financial service firms. Who is your ideal client? Today and in the future? We know what an ideal client was in the past from experience, but what about tomorrow? How is technology changing the client experience and how are you positioning yourself as a financial advisor of the future?
Ask yourself these business model questions
Are you seeing a compression on fees and commissions? Is the price of money management from your manufacturers going up or down? Are the product providers helping you in any way to address the changes in pricing? Are they telling you that the regulatory changes are not a big deal, so keep on what you are doing, while we lower our prices and compensation on our products? Have they secretly given guidance to you on what the future holds for them, while telling you to stay the course? Are you seeing less service and more automation from your product providers? Are compliance costs rising?
In other words, is it forcing you to make changes to your business model? And are they helping guide you to a new business model, or are they saying, stay the course? When you ask your product partners about robo advisors, they cannot tell you the companies position on it, because they know that it may be on the company table in development.
Robo advisors are not going away
Robo advisors are now advertising in North America at an alarming rate, for the race to see who can not only survive but thrive at capturing your clients. In workshops I do across the country, I ask financial advisors if they have their own robo advisory account or even signed up the get their digital information. I am shocked that less than 5% of hands go up. This is the largest technology disruption in history and you can’t take the time to learn from it, and possible benefit from it? If you are reading this and thinking, it doesn’t affect my business, you’re probably reading this from a printed newspaper, or a hand written scroll. Very smart people are here to disrupt your business model. Pay attention, and set up your robo newsletter signup (make sure you remember compliance guidelines).
Robo advisors also known as digital advice platforms can be seen by financial advisors as a way to automate part of the ideal client experience and clients want an easier way to access their information. But they still need your guidance in establishing their goals and holistic financial planning framework so they can stay on track to accomplish their goals. How can your technology help illustrate this, and also use emotional appeal to keep people on track.
Advisors need more time with ideal clients
Time is in short supply for both ideal clients and financial advisors. Being technology ready for the future means meeting clients with their technology. This may mean, facetime, skype or go to meetings when time and travel is difficult to get all parties together. A busy husband and wife may be able to access account integration online while setting up a joint meeting with their financial advisor from multiple locations. Using this technology may require clarification from compliance in using technology. Great response from phone calls, emails and texts from financial advisors and or their team is the future for your ideal clients. They want access 24/7 through technology.
How often do your top clients text you?
I have been asking this question to advisors for several years now, and I am surprised to see an advisors reaction. More and more clients are texting their advisors. This is no longer domain for close family communication, as most advisors have strong relationships with their best clients, texting is encouraged. Time to get comfortable with it.
Clarity around the future
Clients seek you out as a financial advisor to get clarity around their financial future. How about your business model for the future. Is it future ready? Future ready financial advisors have the following characteristics in the business model to give them clarity about the future.
- Clearly defined ideal client — they know the revenue upfront ( or first year revenue) and the ongoing revenue of their ideal clients
- They know their ideal capacity in that how many ideal clients they can ideally manage in a calendar year giving them the best service possible for the fees they pay — hint it is usually less than 150 households
- They have a plan for their ideal lifestyle for themselves, planning their time off before the year starts. They also share this with their ideal clients aligning themselves with their lifestyle. A critical lifestyle conversation that top advisors have with their ideal clients.
- They plan their technology to help them build the processes to serve their ideal clients better, not freeing up time from non ideal clients. They invest the technology to enhance their delivery of holistic planning, workflows and processes for their ideal clients.
- They hire the right people to help service their ideal clients, in client meetings, follow up and service issues to be their ideal client’s main point of contact.
- They have a formal feedback process to know what their ideal client value and align their services with their ideal clients, not their transactional or non ideal clients.
Experience versus expense
Future ready financial advisors need to think experience versus expense. Technology and becoming future ready is an investment into your ideal client’s experience. Your ideal client will generate thousands of annual revenue to you and your firm. Don’t think of current clients and their experience, think of future ideal clients and the future experience for them. What do you want that experience to look like. Then build it out to become future ready.
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