Technology advancements and utilization was a major theme of the FPA Business Solutions 2011 conference in Boston. Here are some of the technology tips that can help advisors be more successful.
1. Use portals to make it easier for clients. "The industry is creating confusion over the concept of a client portal," said Andy Gluck, CEO of Advisor Products Inc. It is not just a client login on a Web site, it is more than that. Gluck gave an example, "To do's can be checked off in CRM [by the advisor] and the client can see that an item is done."
Chadwick Blythe shared that advisors are "gearing toward the client experience. It used to be about how it was easier for the advisor, now it is about client user experience."
2. Use tablets to keep up with generational changes. Matt Iverson, co-founder at Boulevard R, said, "There is a shift in demographics. With that there is a shift to mobile communicating in real time." He thought "the value of using a tablet is that you are leveraging technology. It allows advisors to engage with people in something that interests them. In a first meeting, you can explain what you do and show them."
3. Integrate technologies. Having all information in one application can be very helpful. "Integrations are at the cutting edge of financial advisor technology, providing a meaningful advantage to those advisors who know how to use it, said Peter Montoya. "With integrated technologies, the biggest advantage is that advisors benefit from single entry and don't waste valuable time re-entering the same client data into many different systems. These advisors streamline their operations and have more time for the revenue generating activities such as meeting with clients and marketing."
Have you heard of the term "API" and do not know what it stands for or means? It is an Acronym for Application Program Interface. In simple terms, it allows one technology to talk to another. Seamless integration is where the industry is heading.
4. Make efficient communications. Marie Swift, president and CEO of Impact Communications, recommended using three tools. AWeber is an e-mail auto responder that can allow advisors to have a series of touches. VoiceShot makes robo calls for 12 cents a call and can help touch all clients at once. SlideShare allows advisors to share presentations online.
5. Go paperless. Tim Welsh presented how advisors should go from a paper world to one of digital document management. Related to filing, Welsh shared one study that showed it takes 20 minutes on average for people to get back to their desks after they get up. Along with saving wasted time to get up and down to file material, a paperless office can have enhanced security and disaster recovery. It also allows for many efficiencies, including space, back-office, compliance and others.
Welsh said, "You can cut overhead expenses from 42% to 33%", referencing industry statistics from Laserfiche. He thought 'going green' is something that would also please clients. All these points increase a business' worth, allowing for higher values if an advisor sells a practice.
6. Add work flows. Adam Moseley, director of technology consulting at Charles Schwab Advisor Services, said, "Define work flows and integrate them into your CRM. This ensures consistent services for your clients and makes sure nothing falls through the cracks." Moseley gave more advice to document and evaluate work flows before implementation. He said, "Strive for simplicity--the less steps the better." The simpler they are the less likely there is a chance for breakdowns.
Martin Kurtz, president of FPA, said that "Advisors should get technical and they should take care of trust. High tech means advisors can be high touch."
Good advice and great technology tips from the Business Solutions conference.
Mike Byrnes founded Byrnes Consulting to provide consulting services to help advisors become even more successful. His expertise is in business planning, marketing strategy, business development, client service and management effectiveness, along with several other areas. Read more at www.byrnesconsulting.com.