A constant question for many advisers, particularly when they’ve been sitting about over a break quietly contemplating life, is how the financial services industry will look and work in the next couple of years.
Here’s the good news: you can lay your own road ahead…especially if you understand the 4 essential concepts that define a true “advice” business.
The future for the financial services professional is being the valued source of advice – which is something beyond being product focused….or being able to charm and sell stuff….
That may seem a little self-evident and a little simplistic on the surface because surely all financial advisers are perceived to be valued providers of sound advice already aren’t they? Unfortunately not…
Only approximately one-quarter of consumers in this country (according to one study) actually turn to financial advisers as their primary source of financial advice. Read that again slowly….and then understand the massive opportunity that lies within the 75% of consumers that do NOT yet see a financial adviser as being their most reliable source of financial advice.
Here are the 4 things that an advice business does well…and which are valued by clients:
1. It is positioned at the leading edge of industry and consumer trends. It knows the issues, problems and key trends that will affect its clientele before they do. There is a difference between being at the leading edge – out there at the front of understanding key dynamics – and being at the “bleeding edge”. Guessing the future for clients is bleeding edge stuff….advisers wanting to be perceived as soothsayers with perfect predictions are not in the advice business.
2. An advice business does not link its value proposition to product or market performance. These are factors which ultimately the adviser cannot influence significantly. The advice business links its value proposition to client outcomes – not portfolio outcomes. It is about helping clients have a better experience because they work with you.
3. Then advice business values and leverages its knowledge of how to make a difference in people’s lives. Success isn’t defined by hours billed, commissions generated or gross turnover….success is defined by the difference it makes to clients and how far it can extend that ability.
4. A true advice business only applies and delivers what its clients want. It does not get consumed with its own processes, technical prowess or sense of ethical superiority….it is focused on those things the client actually values: peace of mind; understanding their choices & the consequences; convenience; results….
Pulling this together means that an advice business provides creative solutions to its clients problems, and delivers JUST what is needed by them.
That is advice that is valued by consumers – and that is the way ahead for financial advisers.
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