What Do Clients NEED? Convenience and the Human Touch

Yes, we live in a world (both personally and professionally) that is becoming more and more technology-centric. Many financial advisors have a variety of technologies at their disposal, some for client management and others for business management. The ultimate lifestyle advisor can be a sole practitioner on their laptop anywhere in the country, if the technologies within their firm are set up properly.

And while the idea of robo-advisors taking over the industry has cooled off, there is still a belief that younger investors (or investors in general) will begin to heavily rely on technology as a replacement for a financial advisor. It appears to be actually the opposite – according to a Wells Fargo survey, 84% of investors think that financial advisors will always be needed, and won’t be replaced by automated investing technology.

The good news is that you’re needed. The bad (or at least challenging) news is that technology is 24/7 and you are not. So what can you do to get new clients in the door and better serve existing ones? A lot of that has to do with convenience and a human touch.

The time factor

Making a full-on commitment to work face-to-face with an advisor requires actually having time to meet with one.

Consider the convenience era we live in (to which my colleague Allie recently wrote about)  – I can order groceries from my phone as I’m walking out of work, and they’ll be on my front door step when I pull into my driveway (I have an hour-long commute home). In this scenario, I’m not opposed to going into the grocery store to pick up a couple of items, but I can shave 20-30 extra minutes off my trip by having those items delivered. If I have the option of saving time and having the same result, more often than not, I’m going to take the option of time savings.

Some investors explore the robo route simply because of the convenience, not because they DON’T want to physically meet with an advisor. This means that financial advisors will need to have their business incorporate the convenience factor – holograms! Kidding, but you will need to find ways to reach them and make yourself (and your services) more accessible. Consider the convenience factor of:

  • Reserve a couple days a month as “Open House” days where clients can come without an appointment
  • Meeting over video conferencing (and have your younger advisors handle the heavy lifting here)
  • Using a client portal that clients can access for basic information about their accounts (an app is ideal)
  • Using meeting scheduling software to make it as easy as possible to get time on your calendar (Boomerang Calendar is easy for everyone)

There when they need you

Because you are a human, you are better suited to help clients navigate through life events unique to their specific circumstances, not just those specific to their wealth.

Going back to my grocery delivery example – in most cases, I can order what I need right from the app. But what if my 3-year-old throws me a curve ball and asks for ice cream on my way home from work? If you know any 3-year olds, you know you can’t just order a pint of Ben and Jerry’s to meet the need; they have a very specific request (birthday cake frozen yogurt with rainbow sprinkles and three pieces of strawberry).

Your clients will also have unique needs, which will require your specific attention to detail. A messy divorce, the loss of a loved one or a sudden windfall of cash are all scenarios that need to be discussed in detail (over multiple conversations) and likely can’t be done with the simple click of a button. Consider:

  • Helping clients become educated on the financial headwinds associated with divorce
  • Having a plan of action for traumatic events (such as the death of a spouse), so you can proactively do things for them in their time of need
  • For gray marriages (remarriages later in life, with separate assets), helping the couple understand their new financial situation and the need for proper estate planning

You’re not a robo(t) – and that’s a good thing. By coming up with ways to be as convenient as possible, and as human as possible, you’ll best be able to serve your clients and welcome new ones.

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