By Jud Mackrill
I firmly believe in the value of financial advisors. But that doesn’t mean we can’t learn from robos.
Robo advisors challenge us to do better. Instead of throwing stones when one of them makes headlines, we should be looking at what we can learn from them. What do they do right? What do they do wrong? What do they do better than you? What do you do better?
Advisors should view their digital competition as tools to make themselves better. As Sally Hogshead says, “Different is better than better.” You don’t have to be better than Betterment, but as they get better, you can absolutely use their experience to propel your practice and figure out ways to highlight how you are different.
For example, try using WealthFront to benchmark your practice and what you do. What do they do from a marketing standpoint? How about technology? Or client service standards? If you start benchmarking your business against leading robos, your clients will notice, your prospects will notice and the next generation will certainly notice too.
How do you measure up? How will you do better? Make yourself someone who can take those standard practices and add your own unique element on top of it.
For starters, you can hand your back-end over to someone like Orion so you can focus on the one thing robos should never do better than financial advisors: customer service.
There will always be naysayers. But as an advisor, you have two options: You can stay in the stands and jeer, or you can do something. Teddy Roosevelt had strong words for us about this:
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
It’s time to get in the ring.
Jud Mackrill is the CEO and co-founder of Mineral Interactive.