By Tony Vidler
During a panel discussion this week with a collection of professionals from various parts of industry, one of the speakers was the CEO of one of the largest national real estate firms, and she dropped a bombshell in terms of how much their business has changed in just the last few years, and they are settling 14,000 deals a year.
Here it is:
The traditional method of consumers seeing a local agent and essentially asking them to canvas the market and shortlist possibilities is almost gone.
The consumers are shopping the market themselves, and during that shopping process they are formulating their own shortlist of both properties and potential professionals to use.
This is exactly what I, and many others like myself, have been telling financial services professionals for several years: the way consumers are buying has already changed. Like the real estate industry, the actual implementation of advice – or selection and settlement of the particular product – remains difficult for many consumers, and they continue to use the professional to facilitate that.
100% of the deals are completed in person.
That won’t hold true for financial services though, as some of “the deals” for consumers in our space are reasonably simple and straightforward. For instance, somebody buying a funeral insurance policy where there is no underwriting, a static sum insured and a minimal premium really doesn’t feel the need to get a professional opinion most of the time. Nor do the majority of people enrolling in KiwiSaver or employer superannuation. These are easy decisions for many consumers. Perhaps for us it will settle into something like 60% of the deals are completed in person. Perhaps.
Where our experience will be quite consistent with the real estate industry is that the overwhelming majority of customer enquiries begin online. Without anything other than instinct and empirical evidence I believe that is in reality already the case.
Future clients have begun their self-education, product and expertise selection, and conducted their due diligence on professionals online and via their peers – before we even know we are being considered as potential advisers.
So where do you think the bulk of your future marketing efforts should be directed?
You may also find this post useful: Why Advisers Need To Take The Lead On Providing Financial Literacy0