Written by Kronos Technologies on January 24, 2018
The buzz in the financial services industry over the past few years has been around disruptive trends that could wreak havoc in the advisor world. Technology, regulation and demographic upheaval are already starting to impact the way clients interact with advisors, and the way advisors operate their practices.
Forward-thinking advisors see that tomorrow’s winners will be those who embrace the new reality and start reconfiguring their business today.
Here are four ways those advisors are working to build the practice of the future.
1. Target the tomorrow you want
The future may not be perfectly predictable but that shouldn’t stop you from setting targets and envisioning the type of practice you want to be running five years from now. Once you’ve set a target, you can always adjust your strategies for getting there if market conditions change.
So, create a clear and compelling Vision Statement—a picture of your future practice that will inspire you, your staff and your partners. Use that Vision Statement to set your key priorities and strategies for achieving them. Use a SWOT analysis to identify the opportunities that could arise for your practice in the future, and to mitigate any threats you see looming in the next few years.
Make your plan a living document. Measure your actual results against it. Review and revise your strategies as you go.
2. Migrate upmarket to meet your future clients
Technology is increasingly providing customers with great options for meeting their needs without the need for an advisor. This is driving advisors who have relied on just fulfilling client requests rather than providing high-value advice, into difficulty. On-the-ball advisors, who look at this evolution as a growth opportunity, are working hard to focus on finding the best clients and spending more time providing them with advice.
They identify who their best clients are and who they are likely to be in the future. They use the power of their CRM systems to segment, filter and tag to find the diamonds in their client base. Then they create campaigns to market and gain introductions to similar people they wish to work with in the future.
They also find efficiencies in in all their systems to free them up to spend time providing advice. They review the workflow in each of their key functional areas (marketing, sales, etc.) and they refine it and delegate as many of the steps as possible to technology. They save time and money—but more importantly are able to move upmarket by spending their time as a trusted advisor.
3. Find the future niche for your practice
In an earlier post we looked at the importance of finding the right niche for your practice. It’s also important to consider your niche in terms of how future-proof or even future-favorable it will be. Consider how your niche might change over the next five years considering the regulatory, technological and demographic changes that are likely to occur. Speak to clients and experts in your market and seek their opinion on where the niche is heading. Is it likely to grow or contract? How will appetites for the services you provide change over that time frame? For instance, are you working in an aging market that may be shrinking in size? If so, what can you do today to offset those threats to your business? On the other hand, if your niche is getting younger and more tech-savvy how will you change the way you work to compensate and remain attractive to your core client base? Consult your SWOT analysis and consider what other niches might present opportunities for your practice in the next five years.
4. Become tomorrow’s go-to expert in your market
Building your expert brand to become the headline presence in your niche means implementing a number of strategies in parallel:
- create added value website content
- speak at client and industry events
- conduct webinars
- spend time each day on social media.
In the coming years it’s going to be increasingly important to build your brand with millennials, and that means going where they go. Find the LinkedIn groups, YouTube channels, Twitter feeds and other online places where they hang out. Join discussions, ask questions to start conversations, answer queries, and provide advice whenever you can.
You can get ahead of the change curve and leap-frog your competitors if you start building the practice of tomorrow, today. You’ll have a clear direction for your business, decision-making will be easier, costs will fall and your systems will create better client experiences. Your practice will thrive, while others struggle to come to grips with the coming changes in the industry.