The Key to Success? Creating a Culture of Connection
by Kristan Wojnar
Proactively connecting with clients is what we refer to as "creating a culture of connection" within your business. However, as Tony alluded to in his posts, yesterday's strategies for success are no longer effective in today's rapidly changing environment. There are four trends every advisor should understand if they want to create value and connection.
Trend #1: Teams
The majority of top producing advisors now work as part of a team while also building a network of professionals to compliment that team, an approach that brings numerous advantages. First, teams allow advisors to bring specialty services to clients that may not be readily obtained from an advisor works alone. And while the structure of a successful team may be influenced by many factors (demographics, geography, etc.) my favorite case study is of a top producer that has ascribed to the team approach over the past 10 years. As part of a 5 member team―an analyst, another rainmaker like himself, one operations person and one administrative "plus" person-this advisor has reached $1.5 billion in AUM, a level not easily reachable by the solo operator.
Building out your network of experts will require a concentrated effort, but upgrading your services will be easier if you have a group of top professionals you can connect with. And while my example above demonstrates the success a team approach may bring, I strongly encourage you to also forge ties across disciplines as you strive to improve your service, connectivity and production. Your network should be without boundaries, so connect with professionals like CPAs, estate attorneys, insurance professionals, IT experts, elder care managers, banking professionals, and therapists including life coaches.
These untapped connections can present significant opportunity for your business because in today's environment, it's more powerful to realize that referrals are earned, not asked for.
Remember, "Life is change, growth is optional. Choose wisely."
Part II: I am going to pick up on our discussion on the four trends every advisor needs to understand if they are going to create value and connection. We looked at the move towards working in teams and the benefits it may offer. The next two trends are demographically based:
Trend #2: The Aging Population
As the average age of the world's population increases, advisors need to understand and address the factors that impact this client segment. As a whole, these investors will experience the longest retirement periods in history in the face of low savings rates, declining pension plans and a questionable future for Social Security. As a result, they will need advisors that not only do they trust, but ones that may help them coordinate the broad range of services their situations may require.
Trend #3: The Greatest Transfer of Wealth
While an aging population naturally presents us with this next trend, the statistics are staggering on the number of investors receiving generational wealth that select another advisor to manage the wealth.
This really needs to be our wakeup call! Through our own myopia, we are letting assets simply walk out the door rather than trying to keep the assets already entrusted to us! Have we forgotten the basic lesson that it is easier to retain existing assets than attract new assets? Take the time and identify your clients with generational connections and build those relationships.
The other side of this trend is being prepared to service high-net-worth (HNW) assets. To date, countless studies have been done on the complex needs of HNW individuals. Despite this plethora of information, we continue to disregard the message and focus on pushing products to our HNW clients when what they really want (and need) is wealth management. This demand/need takes us back to the discussion on building your network of professionals as effective wealth management simply can't be achieved without help.
Lets wrap up our discussion on the four trends by concluding with creating value for the female investor.
Part III: We've discussed four trends key to our efforts at creating value and connection. In review, we've discussed teams and building a professional network, the aging population, and the transfer of wealth. Our focus now turns to understanding the female investor. To help you comprehend the magnitude of this market, consider the current reality:
For every 100 men that graduate from a U.S. university, 133 women will graduate.
While the gap is narrowing, women on average still live longer than men.
80-90% of women will be solely responsible for managing their own finances at some point in their life.
Of the four trends, this one may require the greatest re-working of your approach as there are important nuances as to how women approach investing compared to men. Plus, their investment timelines may vary relative to men's based on time in the workforce or longer life expectancies.
On this topic there is a plethora of studies and information to help guide you in the right direction including our "$14 Trillion Woman" program. And speaking of direction, you may do well by remembering the old stereotype―when lost, men keep driving while women will stop and ask directions. Are you prepared to provide a meaningful road map that differentiates yourself from other advisors? See our blog posts and tools for more ideas on this topic.