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Until recently, advisor-client relationships followed a stable template: each would meet once a year and catch up on portfolio performance. After, they might chat about buying a new product. And that was it.

But that model is swiftly headed out the door. Technological change, on top of a demographic earthquake, is driving client sentiment towards a new model, based on on-demand service, digitally rich experiences and far greater personal control over one’s portfolio.

In order to survive and thrive, advisors need to embrace a different set of best practices adapted to the 21st century. Here are the top three trends in the financial space along with related tips on how to grow with confidence.

Changing demographics

A generational earthquake is underway. Generation X and Y are taking center stage as boomers retreat into retirement. Unless you plan to retire soon yourself, your client base will look very different in ten to fifteen years. And that requires embracing a different set of best practices.

It’s almost common knowledge that millennials, the biggest generation in history, are the next big financial thing. Today, they make up a third of the Canadian workforce — and by 2025, they could comprise as much as three-quarters. On top of that, many millennials are about to become beneficiaries of an estimated $30 trillion in inherited wealth over the next 30 years.

As baby boomer parents pass into retirement, advisors can refresh their book of business by courting this younger cohort. And a fruitful place to start is where you should have already laid the groundwork: among the children of your existing clients.

Changing technology

An explosion of FinTech solutions, on top of CRM, social media, smartphones and more — are washing across the financial advice industry in what some are calling a “technological tsunami”.

While demographics change client expectations; it’s this FinTech revolution that’s driving change.

Here are two ways you can change your strategy to match, while driving growth and efficiency across your practice.

Host fewer annual meetings: Survey results show again and again, millennials prefer infrequent and informal communication over the old face-to-face sit down. Web or teleconferences will not only help you meet expectations, they can save time, by lessening the pressure for both of you to “fill the hour”.

Focus on personalization and automation: Exceptional service is often a casualty in the race to reduce costs; but it doesn’t have to be. Consider a finance-specific CRM for your practice. Far more than a digital rolodex — CRM today comes kitted with many tools to help you streamline and automate. For example, it can help you eliminate data entry, freeing you and your team to focus on meaningful client interactions.

Changing expectations

At the intersection of changing demographics and technology are changing client expectations. As more and more clients embrace digitally rich lifestyles with plenty of opportunity for on-demand consumption, you’ll need to upgrade your service delivery model to match.

Here are some final considerations:

  1. Be available: Inundated with on-demand entertainment, news and shopping online, millennials now expect similar opportunities for consuming financial advice and products. To meet millennial expectations, you’ll need to provide quick responses and self-service opportunities.
  2. Use email, text and social media to engage: Towards that end, prepare to use email and text for quick responses. Leverage social media as well. A quick response to a complaint online can leave a lasting positive impression.
  3. Leverage a robo-advisor: Millennials demand greater personal control and visibility into their portfolio. Consider using a robo-advisor solution to help drive scalability and automation across your operations.
  4. Save face and voice for special occasions:  Just because millennials are geared for short, quick interactions doesn’t mean they don’t appreciate more in-depth conversations from time to time. Save these face-to-face and voice interactions for special instances, like introductions or urgent issues.
  5. Enhance your mobile experience: It’s not just millennials. More and more customers research products on the internet before deciding whether to buy; and more than half will use their mobile device at some point in their research process. To ensure you’re not unwittingly turning away prospects, follow marketing best practice: make sure your website is mobile responsive and cultivate a professional social media presence. Most young professionals frequent LinkedIn — and so should you!

Looking for more tips on how to adapt your service for growth in a disruptive environment? Check out our on-demand webinar,  “Communicating with Millennial Clients”.