Back in the early 19th century as the Industrial Revolution unfolded in England, a group of workers who were opposed to all the technological change (fear of losing their jobs from the disruption) attacked factories and destroyed machinery as a means of protest. They were inspired by Ned Lud, hence the term luddite (a person who is opposed to technological change).
Let me assure you that I’m not insinuating that today’s financial advisors are luddites. In fact, quite the opposite. It’s been our experience that financial advisors have consistently been early adopters of new technology; computers, fax machines, laptops, Internet, email and now digital marketing. However, there’s a difference between being an early adopter and fully capitalizing on the opportunities afforded by the speed and scope of this digital revolution.
So how can financial advisors control their destiny in the face of the robo movement?
We suggest modeling what elite advisors are doing on two fronts. First, they’re embracing technology as a means of engaging their clients, referral alliance partners and prospects. Second, they’re staying current on technologies that their clients may find valuable. Let’s explore these two concepts in more detail.
- Developing Soft Tech Skills
It seems as though I’m writing about the importance of emotional connectivity in virtually everything I pen. Well, maybe I am—but the reason for my obsession is that in this disruptive digital era, which in itself tends to be impersonal, human relationships, or lack thereof, are continually becoming a more treasured commodity.
Most undergraduate courses focus on developing what’s been termed as hard-tech skills, with little or no attention given to the human skills necessary to successfully interact with other people. Soft skills like listening, empathy, rapport building, natural conversation, making people feel better about themselves have always been associated with sales success. Now in our world of digital disruption, the ideas remain the same, but the techniques have expanded.
Are you connected with clients on Facebook? Do you follow their Instagrams? What social profiles should you develop? Do you like and comment on their posts?
Elite advisors have taken the digital aspects of emotional connecting with their top clients very seriously. Elite advisors aren’t winging it when it comes to emotional connectivity.
- Developing Hard-Tech Skills
The term fintech originally focused on the back office operations of banks and trading firms, but now applies to a variety of financial activities. These include activities such as money transfers, depositing a check with your smartphone, Apple Pay, peer-to-peer lending, bitcoin, managing investments and the list goes on and continues to grow.
Here is where a financial advisor with a working knowledge of these digitally disruptive applications will have a better handle on their specific implications. It’s important to understand what can be incorporated into their business, what can be useful to clients, what can appear intriguing to clients but not practical, and what can be expected in the future.
Most elite advisors we’ve worked with possess this working knowledge, have incorporated what they can, are knowledgeable and conversant on much of these digital disruptors. But they also leverage other team members or experts when necessary.
Obviously there is a lot more involved in the soft and hard skills than we can cover in this article. Our intention is to share with you how elite advisors are addressing this whole high-tech robo movement. They are getting closer to their affluent clients and referral alliance partners than ever before, while simultaneously making certain they are relevant with the advice and counsel they’re providing their affluent clients.
Opportunities abound in today’s environment for elite advisors. And as you’re well aware, we’re now operating on digital time, so don’t delay in making certain that you’re an elite financial advisor.
Matt Oechsli is author of Building a Successful 21st Century Financial Practice: Attracting, Servicing & Retaining Affluent Clients. www.oechsli.com