Every industry has felt the impact of changing times and capabilities – both the good and the bad. While technological advancements, for example, are generally beneficial, they have transformed how business is done.
Just as any business owner, it’s important to look to the future and embrace the opportunity for change within your practice, in whatever way that may be. The following are four ways you can ensure your practice stays relevant throughout the years to come:
Leverage technology. I have seen a lot of changes in the financial services industry since I started more than twenty-five years ago. At that time, there was no internet or email. Data and research were scarce and difficult to access.Clients were certainly less educated and knowledgeable about investment strategies, but so were their advisors.
Technological advances, which have made it possible to transmit information in the blink of an eye, have changed the way we connect with clients, as well as how and when we connect. Clients are more educated than ever before. They aren’t looking to us for the data—they are looking to us for advice on what all that data means. They are looking for help on properly processing everything. They expect transparency, and they expect us to be a fiduciary for their wealth. Many of these trends—particularly in technology—will continue to impact the industry for the foreseeable future.Embrace changing demographics.
Traditionally, this business has been primarily composed of young to middle-aged men advising and connecting with middle-aged to older men. Today, that is changing quickly. Women already control more than half the private wealth in the United States and are expected to control two-thirds by 2020. In addition, the younger generations are becoming involved in their family wealth—or creating their own wealth—sooner than ever before.
To connect with this dynamic, diverse group of clients, advisors need to make sure their staff is just as dynamic and diverse.My team is made up of men and women ranging in age from twenty-three to sixty-five. This means that every client can find someone on staff with whom they feel comfortable, and with whom they connect. In my opinion, this makes a considerable difference.
Maintain traditional communication methods the best you can. Knowing that your clients are comfortable with digital communication doesn’t mean you should abandon face-to-face interactions, however. I still reach out and call every one of my clients. In addition, I meet with my clients. I break bread with them. Younger generations might say they prefer to connect via text, email, or our investment portal, but we think it’s important that they understand the value of good, old-fashioned eye contact. Nothing beats sharing a meal and talking about life to cement a relationship.