Do you know what the future state of our industry looks like? Are you aware of the emerging technologies that support those trends?
Figuring this out is more art than science, but I will let you in on a little secret... it’s not always about reinventing the wheel. To find the answer, take a look at what successful salespeople are doing in other “tech forward” industries.
First off, they’re using technology and information to build meaningful relationships, offline. How do you do that? A recent Forrester report titled “B2B Consultant Sellers Reign In The 21st Century” talks about how to empower sellers with strategic tooling. The report quotes my co-founder, Jeff Tompkins, who says successful advisors leverage technology to reinforce their role as a trusted advisor (not a traditional seller) to “build trust by using the buyers’ preferred channels and by sharing content that speaks to them”.
This doesn’t mean spamming potential clients with generic emails and content. Rather, successful salespeople are turning to new online tools that provide them with the information they need to provide a relevant, highly personalized experience that shows empathy and builds trust. Today’s consumer doesn’t want to feel sold to and quickly picks up on traditional tricks and methods to force them into a purchase. However, many financial advisors and insurance agents I speak with seem to be lacking the tools and solutions needed to become a trusted advisor instead of the increasingly ineffective traditional salesperson.
You’ve probably caught on by now… the #1 selling mistake advisors make is utilizing traditional selling techniques. In the online world, this includes the generic content and “one-size fits all” marketing campaigns still being used by many advisors. So, here are a few valuable tips for leveraging technology to become more of a trusted advisor and less of a traditional salesperson, which ultimately will bring you the success of today’s top advisors.
Cultivate Communities, Not Markets
Google defines community as “a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.” At AdvisorConnect, we’re helping advisors identify and cultivate communities using the latest data science and machine learning technology to make sense of the massive (and rapidly growing) amount of public data available on the people in their online network. With millions of new social posts happening every minute, public data contains a treasure trove of valuable information. And it’s updated by consumers themselves!
Rather than looking at your addressable market solely as an arena where sales occur, you will see much greater success by developing communities around you that are based on shared interests, commonalities, and characteristics. When you are able to relate to your prospect, conversations become much more fluid and natural rather than forced and full of friction. You’re also more likely to encounter people who fit the profile of your “ideal client”.
Relate and Personalize
I call it H2H, or Human to Human, instead of B2C (Business to Consumer). Use the internet as a resource to better inform yourself on existing clients and prospective clients. With relative ease and depending on how I am connected to someone, I can usually find out where someone in my network went to school, where they have worked, their political views (thanks Twitter), if they have children, what hobbies they like, where they enjoy vacationing, what kind of dog they have, what sports they played in college, and the list keeps going.
At AdvisorConnect, we help advisors leverage this information to create a highly personalized experience in everything from marketing campaigns to determining the right financial plan that fits the needs of your client. A potential client is much more likely to respond to an advisor that’s taken the time to craft a personalized message as opposed to a generic message that talks about retirement or provides golfing tips.
Work Smarter, not Harder
Chances are, you attract a certain type of client. Take a look at your existing clients and try to develop an ideal client profile, who are you having the most success attracting as clients? Maybe it’s divorced mothers who went to your same alma mater and also enjoy golf. Now, take this information and create a lookalike model that can be applied to your various communities and work to identify who else fits this profile.
Just as Amazon knows what you’re likely to buy next and Spotify knows what music you love based on your listening history, data about you, the people in your network and how you’ve interacted with those people can be used to help identify where you’re most likely to be successful as an advisor. This is where technology comes into the picture. At AdvisorConnect, we’re combining social network theory with data science to make sense of all this information. Think of it as a Match.com for advisors and clients (without the dating, of course!).
Make it Personal
A recent study by research firm Corporate Insight titled “The Changing Face of Financial Advice” found that most advisors missed the mark when it came to things like understanding their clients’ values and core interests. Rather than pushing generic content out to your network, leverage the rights tools and technology to practice the points above to drive more personalized engagement. This is white-glove relationship management delivered at scale to a large audience of community members.
It’s truly an exciting time to be a financial advisor or an insurance agent. With emerging technology, you can equip yourself with incredible information-processing tools that allow you to build successful relationships with prospects and clients at scale. The sooner you dive in and make use of these tools, the bigger of an advantage you’ll have in an industry slow to adapt to change.
It’s time to use technology that actually makes us more human.