“Financial planning” is a buzz-phrase around the industry now; it is at the core of conversations that advisors are having regarding how to charge for these services, use this technology to fight fee compression, and compete with robo-advisors. All these things are true for your book of business, but financial planning has been around for a lot longer than just the digital age, and there are a few nontraditional reasons why financial planning is beneficial to have in any advisory practice.
One of the biggest peripheral benefits is the marketing that comes from a financial plan. It should not be too big of secret that most advisory practices’ organic growth is through referrals. Now put yourself for a moment in the shoes of your client. If you are talking to your friends and family about your finance person, is it more likely that you can point to an easily digestible five-page report that sums up your retirement or a vague sense of the returns he is generating. It is the former, simply because there is a level of confidence about what you are actually delivering.
Beyond that, you will have created a simple repeatable process. This process allows your clients to tell their friends exactly what is going to happen. Dealing with finances is a nerve-wracking process for anyone not familiar with their finances (which is, unfortunately, a majority of Americans). This discomfort and nervousness can be soothed by simply knowing what to expect. This is something people will tell their friends about.
Relating back to simple repeatable processes, business continuation is an exact reason for this. Imagine you passed away and some random advisor needs to come in talk to your clientele. It will be incredibly convenient and effective for him or her to pick up the document that lists your client’s goals, recommendations, and projections as a means to understand a particular client.
This is similar to business continuation, but relating specifically to the process of a sale. If the buyer can simply replicate what you have already done, not only will your clients be adequately served, but the value of your company will actually increase. We recently brought in a third part consulting firm to work with our sales team and, based on their experience, a firm that has this process can be valued two to three times higher than a firm without such a process.
By now you should understand that a simple repeatable process has a lot to do with the other advantages of a financial planning. This process in itself allow the individual advisor or the entire firm to scale and customize. By allowing the same process to be repeated at varying levels of complexity (depending on the needs of your client) you are creating efficiencies. These efficiencies double down on everything we have already covered.
In conclusion, when investing in any new technology. It is important to understand what exactly you are purchasing because a lot of the time the most obvious answer is not the only reason it can be valuable.
To learn how financial planning technology can boost ROI for your firm, click here.