The one thing you can count on in life is change. It’s as constant as the tides and as reliable as the sunrise and sunset. Stay in the financial services business long enough and you will experience your share of change.
Navigating change and unexpected developments is crucial to ensuring your firm’s long-term success.
We all had to exercise adaptability during the COVID-19 epidemic. You’re still in business because you were able to adjust to a drastically altered way of doing business. And chances are, things are operating more smoothly today than in the days before offices closed down and face masks went up.
The same holds true with your firm’s business model. Sooner or later, it will need to change. Adaptability is critical to smoothly transitioning from an old approach to a new one. The key to that is how you view things.
Consider Paolo Sironi’s experience. He’s a thought leader for wealth management and investment analytics at IBM. Back in 1999, he helped his brother create an online retail outlet that they hoped would become “the Amazon of Italy.” And it flopped.
Then he saw a TV interview with Amazon’s Jeff Bezos that changed everything. Bezos told how publishers originally wanted him to redo Amazon’s website because it allowed customers to post both positive and negative book reviews. They felt negative reviews hurt book sales.
Sironi recalls Bezos explaining, “My role is not to be a product distribution channel. My role is to advise my customers on which book is the best to buy. I create transparency to motivate sales with positive and negative reviews, and only afterward do I use analytics to improve their experience with support.
“With wealth management,” Sironi concluded, “the client is offered products. Very few people are capable of self-directing their decisions. The real value of working with a wealth manager is inside of the relationship. Trust is realized inside that relationship.”
As a wealth manager, you need to adapt your business model away from simply selling products and focus your efforts on cultivating relationships built on trust. That is where you can help the client select the products best suited to helping them achieve their personal financial goals.
There are several other steps your firm can take to maintain its adaptability during a time of change. They include:
- Increase your digital solution usage
No matter how much you rely on digital tools, use them even more. Online meetings started as a way to keep businesses afloat during quarantines and lockdowns. Now we have discovered they are incredible timesavers. Use them! Find new ways to expand on the many benefits web conferencing can bring to your firm and your clients. Don’t be afraid to adapt your plan to include increased reliance on social media platforms because that is where the future lies.
- Look for new opportunities through increased partnerships
Sure, it’s easy to be the Lone Ranger. But in times of challenge, change, and even crisis, going solo has its limitations. That’s why many independent financial advisors have found benefits in taking a larger advisory office as a silent partner. They can help you in areas from administrative and marketing to tech support and compliance. There is strength in numbers!
- Outsource more frequently
The pandemic taught us the importance of triaging duties. We have learned which tasks are critical to the firm’s mission, which can be delayed until later and performed from home. We have also discovered many chores can be successfully outsourced to other companies, freeing up more time for essential duties. Outsourcing isn’t passing the buck. Remember, you maintain control over the process. The work is just done elsewhere. Make the most of this opportunity whenever you can.
Were these things part of a typical wealth management firm’s business model a few years ago? Nope. Can adapting your business model to include them make your firm operate more efficiently? Absolutely!