As a leader in the financial advisory space, you no doubt understand the importance of technology; how it is transforming and improving our industry. You get it.
Unfortunately, not all of our colleagues are so forward-looking. So, as we go about crafting and implementing tech strategies for our firms, how do we convey the value of these innovations to skeptical or change-averse team members?
Try explaining the power of technology with a number: 2,080. That’s the maximum number of office hours available to you during a year of 40-hour weeks, assuming no vacation or sick days.
Over the past 25 years, the number of tasks we’re expected to handle during office hours has expanded dramatically. Most of this added workload is the result of changes in communications and media technology. Until the mid-1980s, the channels for receiving information that required our attention were limited. News that might move the market came via the daily newspaper, the evening TV news, or if it was urgent, a radio bulletin. Clients in need of information or reassurance could phone our office, show up in person, or mail a letter.
This situation began to change with the rise of all-news cable television channels and was completely upended in the 1990s by the advent of the internet, cellphones, and eventually, smartphones. Seemingly overnight, information and communication began to flow non-stop, along with our need to respond to it. That river continues to run faster and deeper every day thanks to tools like text messaging, FaceTime, and social media. As a result, financial advisors are now required to develop strategic responses to new developments and respond to client inquiries at a dizzying, time-consuming pace.
And still, we have just 2,080 office hours per year. How are we supposed to keep up without working burn-out hours? Technology. Yep, the same force that placed these demands on our industry also offers us the ability to scale ourselves to meet the new expectations. When properly deployed, technology can free advisors from numerous routine (but critical) tasks. The result is more time to invest in strengthening client relations and identifying new prospects.
Ask your office’s techno-doubters to run through this whiteboard exercise: Think about every process the firm executes. Analyze component steps of each process, including who handles each task and how much time it requires. Then figure out how much time would be saved if some steps could be either handled by technology or outright eliminated by innovations to the process. In my experience, it will quickly become apparent to even the most dug-in technophobes that eliminating even one or two tasks per quarter will make a noticeable difference in the operation. Those efficiencies will snowball as the technology available to financial services firms continues to evolve.
This may not be the last conversation necessary to convert the doubters on your team, but I promise it will move them closer to embracing the value (and inevitability) of technology and innovation’s roles in the future of your firm and our industry.
How are you making a case for expanding the role of technology in your operations? What objections are you encountering, and how do you counter them? Let’s share our experiences.