By Jason McArthur, Management Consultant, Centrepoint Alliance
Whether you’re a technician or a marketer, might have something to do with, when you develop your financial planning practice.
It’s something that’s gone in waves, according to the industry environment. In the 1980s financial planning was all about risk writing and simple bundled or unbundled investment products. Then it moved into a very technical stage where financial planners were under pressure to find funds with the highest returns, which caused problems when those funds didn’t perform well in the late 80s. In the 90s it was all about sales after the Global Financial Crisis, so it all changed again.
Today the answer is – you need to be both technician and marketer. You need the technical knowledge to be able to do your job and get results for your clients. You need to be able to communicate with your client about exactly how a solution will meet their needs. You need to be able to educate your client so they understand the advice you’re giving them and the impact of the decision they’re making.
But you also need marketing skills to be able to sell yourself and your business. If you don’t sell yourself, your client may not have faith in your advice. They need to understand who they’re working with and why, in order to develop the relationship and empathy that will allow you to understand what is driving the client and their needs. And of course, you want marketing skills to grow and develop your business.
As a profession we started to lose some of these skills with the introduction of Financial Services Reform (FSR) – which has only been compounded since the Future of Financial Advice (FoFA) reforms. Don’t get me wrong, FoFA is a good thing and it’s brought considerable improvement through its goals of equality, transparency, and client benefit. But that’s come at a cost, as many financial planners have, necessarily, focused on client data forms, disclosure, and a raft of legislation.
If we’re not careful we can become robotic, just ticking all the boxes and forgetting our bigger purpose. Or in marketing terms, our client value proposition - what we actually do for the client.
It’s about not losing sight of the wood for the trees.
It’s about change, too. Every business deals with change if it wants to thrive. It’s not always easy, which is why we provide coaching in this area. In the same way that financial planners coach their clients about finance.
Change can be frustrating, but it’s also rewarding. Those who are taking up this challenge are finding they’re developing closer relationships and enjoying their clients more. They’re able to work on their business, not just in it., They’re better off, and have improved their work/life balance.
Most people know what they need to do, but not always how. It’s not surprising, given running their own practice means they need to wear not just the financial planner hat, but also business manager, human resources consultant, and a number of others.
We can help these practices where they may be struggling.
Being open to change is the key. Today this is a fast-paced profession, so the change is rapid.
Hang on for the ride
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