It's fair to say that the advice industry has taken a fair pounding the last few years. For many advisers and advice practices, they have rolled with the punches, taken on board the changes in requirements and continued to provide a valuable service to clients.
It's also probably fair to say that the industry in general, has taken a little while to catch-up in the tech and innovation stakes. The fact that many advice firms don't have advice software, a CRM or any sort of marketing software yet, certainly supports that argument.
Has COVID meant we've seen a significant shift in the role of technology in advice businesses?
COVID has been a right shit storm for many. I think that's the appropriate technical term for the effect it's had on many lives, especially if you live in Victoria. But I think many advice practices have been able to continue servicing clients, albeit from home and now using Zoom and Google Meet, without minimal interruption.
Of course, this change has meant technology has now played a far more significant role in the running of an advice business. When you can't meet with people face to face (team members, product and service providers, clients, prospects), you place a heavier emphasis on the quality of interactions via other mediums such as online meeting tools, project management software, websites, social media etc.
So what if your advice world doesn't go back to what it was before?
Your world might look like this:
- Clients want to continue to meet online
- Team members want to work remotely
- Your online assets are now your shopfront, not your office
- Client expectations of technology innovation have just grown exponentially
If you can't meet clients face to face and wow them with your professional office, talented team members, great coffee machine and overall great in-person experience, what will you wow them with?
The ability to interact with your clients more regularly, but online, is where you'll need to pick up your game. The shift to technology and innovation means you don't have the luxury to wait for an annual review to remind clients that you're a great practitioner, you need to show them in other ways and more consistently.
If you're looking at the challenge objectively, you'll see it as an opportunity. There are more innovative ways to deal with ALL of your clients, even the ones at price points that don't fit your 'ideal client'. Which is where 'being a better business owner' can come into play.
Growing a successful advice business in 2021 and beyond is going to be about:
- Client retention with marketing strategies
- Increasing profit margins through better client efficiencies
- Systems and processes using technology to reduce workflow blocks
- Efficient technology enablement (Robo, cashflow management, advice software, membership tools, CRMs)
Then you need to get more obvious about showing the value you provide to clients, rather than assuming they know. This is where outbound and inbound marketing can help:
- Email marketing
- Social media
- Website content
- Video marketing
Instead of saying as an industry, we can't deliver cheaper advice, we need to look for ways to do it but reduce the burden to the business. There are marketing strategies and technology available and being used by successful advice practices, who have seen the opportunity to serve a market that doesn't quite meet their ideal client criteria...but might one day.
Sometimes it takes a significant event to change our thinking. Those who have seen how it can benefit their business moving forward, will make the adjustments and grow.
The rest will be left behind, still thinking that they don't need a website in 2020.
Contact me if you don't want to be left behind.