If an egg is broken by an outside force, life ends. If broken by an inside force life begins. Great things always begin from the inside.” – Jim Kwik
Consider this as you develop your vision for your practice through 2019 and beyond.
I do not need to remind you that, as a financial advisor, you are facing enormous pressures, including, but not limited to:
- Bizarre and unknowable fiduciary expectations
- Robo-advisors taking market share
- Commoditization of the profession
- Competitors coming from anywhere and everywhere (see second bullet)
But, if you define these concerns as insurmountable then you, and your team, may become too rigid to respond to them. The next-generation advisor is going beyond conventional investment challenges to differentiate them.
I have had three separate conversations with advisors claiming robo-advisors are actually a blessing for their practices. Talk about unconventional thinking!
Why were these comments made?
Because each advisor has an indelible knowing of what really is going on between advisor and client. It’s humanity. An advisor will never be able to out-robo a robo, but you can out-humanize the machine and keep clients by demonstrating your value based on their unique interests.
Oftentimes, a conflict is created by both sides not having enough information as to how their goals work in tandem. A classic adage exemplifying this scenario tells the story of two sisters fighting over an orange. Both sisters are certain they must have the whole orange. When their mother asks each sister why they actually want the orange, one sister says she wants the orange to make juice, the other says she wants the rind to cook with. Knowing the outcome each sister was interested in allows both parties to get what they want. The same philosophy may help you and your clients achieve your desired outcomes.
So, what is the difference between a client’s interests versus their position? A client’s position is what they want; a client’s interest is why they want it.
Let’s practice: Prepare for a client discussion where, say, they are unsure whether you and their new Jetsonian robot number cruncher can happily coexist by writing down the following:
- Write specific goals. What specific outcome are you hoping for? In this case, you’re looking to maintain what has been a long and successful relationship. The client is interested in whether the latest trend works for them, they can save money on fees and achieve their goals without having a person on the other end of the line.
- Consider the client’s point of view. For example, what’s most important to your client and how will charging higher fees than a robo-advisor serve these interests?
- Understand the client’s interests. Now, proactively prepare what the client will ask you and how you will respond with a focus on shared goals. For example:
- Performance – “Why should I pay you more than the robo?”
- Fees – “How much more will I be paying and what will I receive?”
- Service – “How will the service I receive be superior?”
- Relationship – “How do you, me and the robo work together?”
One additional question you should ask yourself before the close: Can each of your clients effortlessly express how you out-humanize the machine on their behalf? If you’re unsure, it’s time to prepare a value proposition on how your unique partnership can provide value that matters. That robo may not be helping prepare their children’s financial future, and certainly was not the one they called when their wife got sick and needed help updating their beneficiary documents.
Break an egg with your practice for 2019, from the inside, by beginning to communicate from a place of commonality, and come to win-win resolutions to even the most challenging issues facing our industry.
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