Once upon a time, virtually all financial planners were actually life insurance agents or investment brokers who were compensated by selling products and perhaps gave a little financial advice on the side.
Over the past several decades, financial planning has been pushing toward becoming a recognized profession, and its practitioners as recognized professionals. At the same time, the business itself has become more complex, challenging and time-intensive, a natural by-product of shifting from the sale of products to the delivery of advice. The net result of all these trends is greater pressure than ever for financial planners to maintain high productivity levels.
In response, financial planners have sought out ways to make themselves and their firms more efficient in terms of their time—and their staff’s—and cost, such as requiring clients to come meet at the advisor’s office, or to dictate that clients must gather all their data up front and bring it fully assembled to the planner. The reality, however, is that such strategies don’t actually eliminate the work to make the planner more efficient; rather, they simply delegate the work to the clients and make it their problem instead!
While such an approach may be necessary for some business models, it’s less than ideal for many, especially firms that pride themselves on the quality of service they provide their high-net-worth clients! So what’s the alternative? Instead of just delegating work to clients, reimagine how to turn these challenge points into true value-adds for the client, or better yet use some of the emerging technology in today’s digital age to eliminate the problem entirely.
Outsourcing Travel to Clients
As financial planners have become increasingly professional, and increasingly time-constrained, traveling to client meetings becomes difficult to manage. As a result, a more and more common refrain of planners has been: “I’m a professional. I shouldn’t have to go to the homes and offices of my clients. My clients should have to come to see me, just as they do their doctors and lawyers!”