I recently spoke with three top producers about how technology is changing, for better or worse, the way they do business. Here, they share their tips for fellow advisors on better integrating technology into their everyday practice.
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Q. From a practical standpoint, what aspect of the use of technology is making the biggest positive difference in your business, and what advice would you give the producer who is now only implementing the barest of minimums in the way of technological tools?
John F. Nichols, MSM, CLU, president of Chicago-based Disability Resource Group Inc.: The use of technology within our firm has created more opportunities to:
- Build deeper relationships.
- Provide an enhanced experience for our clients.
- Leverage relationships.
- Create new business opportunities.
- Increase productivity.
My advice to the producer who is now just implementing technological tools would be to embrace it all and have fun. It’s important to learn and try technological tools in a comfortable environment. For example, try to Skype with your out-of-state children, grandchildren or friends. Then see if that makes sense for your business relationships.
Ryan J. Pinney, CSFP, vice president of brokerage sales for Pinney Insurance Center in Roseville, Calif.: One of my favorite sayings is, “Work smarter, not harder,” and I think many in our industry see the value of this statement and realize the need for technology. I would encourage them to start working smarter by first getting standardized, then systematized and, finally, automated. Take the most common tasks you — and your staff — do on a daily basis and standardize them so that each person does them in the same way. Then, systematize the task by creating checklists or similar procedures to accomplish the task. Finally, automate the process using technology to do as much of the task as possible, so it occurs whether you are actively involved or not.
Automation has without a doubt been the single biggest difference for us over the past 10 years. Today, we’ve automated nearly every part of our business and interactions with our clients. Don’t confuse this with eliminating the human element, because we haven’t — if anything, we have even more of that today than we did in the past. What automation has allowed us to do is create processes where things don’t fall through the proverbial cracks. Client interactions, marketing, follow-ups, sales processes, annual reviews, etc. — in short, every type of interaction we can think of is scheduled, scripted, monitored and adjusted based on a predefined set of rules that are put in front of our team automatically. None of this would be possible without a robust client management system that allows for this type of automation to take place.
Michael Morrow, CFP, MDRT member, international speaker and author of the best-selling “Leading Marketing Strategies” and “The Picture Sells the Story”: We believe any technology advancement in our office has paid huge dividends in the long run. All of our computers, tablets, smartphones and laptops are linked together, which has made a huge positive impact. It has made us more productive and effective, in and out of the office.
With Office 365, we can work anywhere in the cloud. Anytime I find myself having to wait in a doctor’s office or if I have a flight delay, I do not feel that I am losing time away from my business and clients. Our office is completely portable. All of our data is securely backed up daily in the cloud, so we don’t have to worry about computer problems and any deleted files can always be recovered.
New technology will continue to grow and develop to help run our businesses more efficiently. I would encourage advisors to embrace technology and not be intimidated. The time and cost to integrate new technology in your practice will pay for itself over and over again. We would suggest investing an hour each week to learn how to use technology more effectively.
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