By Mark La Bozzetta, Enterprise Strategy Manager, myprosperity
First published in the Independent Financial Adviser (IFA) online
With 2018 drawing to a close, it’s the time where we begin to think about our plans, hopes and dreams for 2019. With that in mind, now is the perfect time to consider how you can take client engagement to the next level by delivering an authentic goals-led advice offering.
Position your firm as your clients’ trusted financial guide
A consistent theme coming through time and time again from Investment Trends’ consumer research reports is that clients, young and old, want to know that their financial planner is helping them make “meaningful progress towards their goals”. They’re looking for someone who can provide leadership, keep them accountable and motivated by helping them track their progress. By applying a goals-based approach to your entire planning process and all of your conversations with your clients, you position yourself as the trusted ‘behavioural coach’. By helping your clients to navigate risk-return trade-offs, set priorities and make better financial decisions, you will be able to cement your status as ‘lead adviser’ and subsequently keep your clients on-track and highly engaged.
Demonstrate value every month, quarter, and year
A key message from the financial services royal commission is that clients want more transparency and understanding of the value they receive for the ongoing advice they pay for. The traditional initial, comprehensive planning experience, combined with annual check-ins to help them review their situation, is no longer enough.
A goals-based framework, supported by data insights and technology, demonstrates to the client that you understand the important dreams and goals they have for themselves and their family. It reminds them why they engaged your services and why they continue to put their trust in you and your team. We have found that our partners are using goals-based planning and tracking to magnify their clients’ emotional connection to their financial plan year round, and to proactively demonstrate value and bulletproof their client relationships.
Investment markets shouldn’t dictate how your clients feel about your services
Even the best practices can get caught up in a level of complacency about articulating and delivering holistic value when investment markets are performing well. However, the businesses that have stood the test of time across all market cycles have found a way to demonstrate ongoing value with tailored advice, tools and support that deliver results for clients across a variety of goals, on an ongoing basis. From debt reduction, home or investment property purchases, savings and cash flow goals, to super accumulation and retirement lifestyle management.
An authentic goals-led advice process, supported by great technology and data-driven tailored communication, will ensure that, through the good times and the bad, clients will always know the value you bring to their lives.
Leveraging technology to drive a goals-led planning service
For those asking themselves, ‘isn’t goals-based planning and tracking all too hard?’. The answer is: it probably used to be – but not anymore. There is now a range of tools, including comprehensive client wealth portals, that will allow you to develop an ideal technology ecosystem. These can help with every aspect of the financial goal-setting process, starting with the discovery phase, all the way to keeping clients on track now and in the long-term.
Digital fact finds
It’s frightening to think about how much time your planning team spends chasing information from clients and third parties. Digital fact finds are gearing up to be one of the hottest trends in the financial advice industry in 2019. By truly automating this tedious process, instead of using Google Forms, editable PDFs or form wizards, you can provide a far more engaging and time-efficient experience for you and your clients. A fully modularised digital fact find will enable you to tailor the client engagement journey, capture and visually prioritise goals that are specific, time-bound and measurable, and provide the client with an engaging and interactive experience using their laptop, iPad or mobile phone.
Forget time-wasting follow-ups – with our upcoming digital fact find you can have your clients or third parties prompted to update any missing details at a later time thanks to integrated to-dos, document uploads and automated reminders.
Automated goal tracking
Budgeting and cash flow tools are pretty mainstream at this stage, however, delivering an authentic goals-led advice offering requires a new generation of software that brings the client’s whole financial world together in one place – with the ability to track multiple financial goals, accounts and portfolios. While there are the standard back-office tools that do the maths in the background and enable you to present your clients with a finalised graph or report, there is more advanced technology available today, such as interactive platforms where clients can log in via desktop or mobile app to automatically track the evolution of their goals over time.
With today’s smart technology, your clients’ whole financial world can be wired up with live data feeds, so data can be captured, stored and tracked in a personal wealth portal. This gives your clients and your team automated access to the latest information, so you can spend more time focused on meaningful value-adding conversations and strategies that will help them fulfil their goals and dreams.
The industry is changing, but disruption creates opportunity. Take advantage of advances in tech to build future-proof services for your firm. By implementing an authentic goals-led advice offering, you can build meaningful, lasting relationships with your clients and continue to engender trust and loyalty for years to come.