Technology may replace some of the financial advisor’s role but a shift in identity and skill set could render advisors irreplaceable.
By BOB DAVIES
Technology is moving fast. Does the universe need a financial advisor any longer, or will technology replace you? If you implement my recommendations, then the answer will always be yes, you are needed. High-net-worth families will want and need you if you continue to innovate and disrupt the industry and what it means to be a financial advisor.
Here’s how I see it. In the early 1990’s a financial advisor, Thomas Leonard, noticed that he asked questions to his clients about the purpose of money, about their goals, about what’s important to them, their values, what they wanted to leave behind and scores of other questions that had nothing to do with indexed annuities.
He also discovered that by having this type of a fact-finding conversation, the household would look to him as more than just the quarterback for their retirement. They also sought out his advice about raising their children or even how to save their marriage. The line started to blur between being the expert around finances to developing an expertise in relationships, health or business development.
This led to the development of the one-stop philosophy where the family goes to the advisor who has developed and vetted experts in a variety of areas from social media marketing to doggy day care. In other words, the hub-and-spoke analogy of full service advice was created, alliances were vetted and formed by the financial advisor, and fees for a menu of services became a reality.
Can artificial intelligence manage a portfolio? The answer is yes, of course. Can AI listen and offer you options about your life? That programming has not been developed and won’t be in our lifetime.
I have had a philosophy for many years that I developed as a college football coach. Everything about coaching was taking an athlete and providing the conditions, learning, repetition and accountability necessary for that athlete to optimize their performance and tap into the highest level of their potential.
When Leonard developed Life Coaching, the internet was just catching on. He was the first to realize that the financial services industry was about helping a family to develop and grow.
That’s what I was doing as well. I had taken the best of the scientific research on human behavioral excellence and best human athletic principles that I learned as a football coach and began to teach business professionals how to be more than a financial advisor. The philosophy I developed that drives this is as follows:
“The purpose of being in business is ….”
If you were to ask 10 American business owners to finish that phrase they would all say “to make money.” Change the culture and ask 10 Japanese business owners and they most likely would reply “to create jobs.”
I believe the purpose of being in business is to grow people. So the driving force behind the relationship you have with your clients is that they become better in their lives because they are in a relationship with you. This means you would need to disrupt and challenge your current identity from that of a financial advisor to one of a life advisor or even coach.
This also means you need to be trained on coaching. You need to be in a constant growth mindset, learning and improving your ability to ask questions, to listen without judgments and improving your own life. You would need to have a confidence that is expressed to the client that you are there for their entire family, for all of their needs. You would need to develop an expertise in behavioral excellence, goal setting and have a system for weekly accountability.
You need to have confidence in your ability to help and guide a client to clarity and to improvements in their lives and the lives of their family. Now this makes you a valuable asset to your clients. If you don’t have an expertise in a particular area, then you would have on your team a vetted expert who does.
Once you’ve experienced growth and expertise in coaching then you can add that as a part of your menu of services and charge a separate monthly fee.
Now you are providing a full service for those of your clients who want it. If you don’t provide that full range of services, then clients will get that service from someone else, along with their financial products as well.
Think about it. Make yourself into a category that has no competitors. Innovate or evaporate!
Bob Davies of High Performance Training is a keynote speaker, author, trainer and coach. Contact him at Bob.Davies@innfeedback.com.
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