Our industry has been slow to adapt, which presents professionals with the opportunity to not just survive but thrive
There has been a shift in our clients’ way of thinking over the past number of years. The demands have gone above just wanting good service as we have entered into the “Era of Experience”, where people are demanding more of their service providers.
This goes far beyond the wealth management industry; in fact, this is impacting virtually every business on the planet. You can thank the likes of Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos among many others for these heightened expectations. People have become accustomed to having top-notch service at the touch of a button and as we all know now, the pandemic has done nothing but accelerate this trend.
The good news is our industry has been typically slow to adapt and there lies the opportunity for advisors to not only survive in this era but to thrive. Here are five proven ideas that can help you to be that much more for your clients:
1. Know thyself
Every year I go through a blueprinting process where I reflect on the past year and also plan out the next 3-5 years with my 10-year goals in mind, but also with the idea of breaking down my mid-range goals into actionable annual, quarterly and monthly goals. The next step: know what you are good at and, more importantly, know what you are not good at and outsource it. The days of being a “Swiss Army Knife” in my opinion are over. The only way to deliver an exceptional advice platform, which your clients deserve, is to utilize professional specialists for all aspects of our client’s financial needs. Do what you love to do, what you’re good at and outsource the rest.
2. Understand client behaviour
You will go far by walking a mile in your client’s shoes. Do not make the mistake of thinking you always know what your clients are thinking. Put yourself in the position of your clients. What would you want to see from your advisor? How would you like to be greeted when you walk in the door to your office? Are you creating memorable moments for your clients and seizing every opportunity you have to connect with them? Are you appealing to your client’s five senses? This may seem to be over the top to you, but that is what people said about the Apple Store and Disney World. You may not be creating a theme park experience but whether you like it or not, you are creating an experience for your clients in every interaction you have, so it is time to start thinking about what you want that experience to be for your clients.
3. Putting process behind your talent
Gone are the days of the individual generalist advisor. Sure, I know that many single advisor teams are still out there, and they are likely still the majority. I do not know exactly when, but these days are ending and to serve clients up to their expectations going forward it is going to require talented team members. But talent is not enough. You are going to have to be more efficient in your processes to ensure that your talent is working effectively, efficiently, and consistently in creating experiences for your clients. Imagine if every time you used an Apple product you had a different user experience … Apple would not be nearly the company they are today. Process will ensure that whether your clients are dealing with you or any of your associates, they are getting the same experience. That is enterprise value.
4. Be a tech leader
Ideas are great. Execution is better. The only way to execute on delivering the best client experience is to utilize leading technology solutions. It doesn’t have to be expensive, either, but it does require doing some upfront exploration to make sure you are utilizing the best technology possible that you can afford. It all starts with your CRM system. It should be integrated as much as possible with your other systems, including email, mass e-mail, note-taking, account management and more. We built our CRM off the Microsoft Dynamics platform because it provided integration with all our other Microsoft tools. Your CRM should also be intuitive and have the ability to automate as many processes as possible for you, whether it is your financial planning process right down to your “random acts of kindness” which make all of the difference.
5. Build a brand
People do not buy what you do, they buy why you do it. Your brand is your why personified. It is your story, and you should make sure people know it, especially the people that you want to work with. Your brand might just be your name and that is completely fine. It might be completely separate from your name; it could be something that transcends you. It all depends on what you want to do and there is no right or wrong thing to do when it comes to what your brand can be. Just make sure that it is about what is important to you, what is important to your clients and the experience you want them to have.
More competition is coming. We work in a great industry with high margins and the ability to have tremendous impact on the lives of the people we work with. That is why competition is coming but if you take the steps to differentiate through exceptional experiences, then you will never be replaced.
Grant White is a Portfolio Manager/Investment Advisor at Endeavour Wealth Management with iA Private Wealth, an award-winning office as recognized by the Carson Group. Together with his partners he provides comprehensive wealth management planning for business owners, professionals and individual families.
This information has been prepared by Grant White who is a Portfolio Manager/Investment Advisor for iA Private Wealth. Opinions expressed in this article are those of the Portfolio Manager/Investment Advisor only and do not necessarily reflect those of iA Private Wealth. iA Private Wealth is a member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund and the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada.