Advisors: change is coming -- you ready?

A big part of my job is connecting with you, the advisors who read this magazine. Recently, I had the opportunity to share some ideas with one of you -- Michael Ham, president of J. Michael Advisors in Dallas, who will be a featured speaker at Senior Market Advisor Expo being held Aug. 24-26 in Las Vegas.

Like a lot of advisors, Ham can talk. I mean, he can really spin a yarn. As a reporter, I ask a question, set the iPhone between us, hit the record button, and he's off to the races. The good thing is he has some pretty interesting ideas, ideas that I want to share with you.

Over the weekend Ham sent me his thoughts on the rapidly changing ways in which we communicate. So sit back, grab a cup of coffee and enjoy.

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It took 38 years for the radio to reach 50 million households. Television took 13 years, and yet Facebook hit the 50 million people mark in only two years. The fastest growing Facebook segment is seniors, but they are not totally comfortable or trust it. However, their Boomer and Gen X children totally get it. And so should you if you want to "expo" grow your practice.

The rate of change in the delivery of information is phenomenal. The easiest way to grow your practice is by not losing any of your current relationships. Reaching the children of your client by honing your technology savvy will ensure your wallet is green. But, this Boomer/Gen Xer doesn't have time for a meeting, lunch and surely not for a round of golf. But yearn they do for communication to assuage their concerns for their inheritance.

The way they communicate is different. The first text message sent was in December 1992. A kid in Los Angeles recently set a record by sending 214,541 texts in a single month. Information flow and technology will continue to fuel the need for education and wisdom, which aren't necessarily conjoined. Being an advisory liaison between the generations portend to us such amazing perspective and insights to guide both the senior and their children (our future clients).

And yet it is with this entire ever changing environment that is exciting, motivating, stimulating and simultaneously heart stopping scary. Just like a wild roller coaster. It is thrilling to have new challenges but also requires us to put behind the fear of change and face the unknown versus the status quo.

Establishing, cultivating and massaging a relationship with the children of your senior clients, using the language and technology that they understand will secure your place amongst their family's most trusted advisors.

While one needs to put a name with a face and a handshake with a look in the eye -- it is equally imperative that you also take advantage of the technology that is available to you. An example of using technology and social networking is the study of monies raised by each of the presidential candidates in the most recent election. In February of 2008, John McCain raised a lucrative $11 million dollars by attending fundraisers, pancake breakfasts, chicken dinners and hand shaking.

Meanwhile, President Obama had a social networking team in play and raised $55 million while not ever flipping a flapjack or attending a fundraiser in person. Technology will help you grow your business, better and quicker. Will you choose to work harder for less or work smarter for more? Come to the Expo to learn how. Whether you want to "run" with the pack or be more of a spectator in the race, you're going to have more options, opportunity and freedom than ever before imagined.

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