A fundamental shift in the sales process
As a sales professional and leader for a decade and a half, one of the most important lessons I have learned is that you have two ears and one mouth. The days of the typical sales process are over in which the consumer speaks with a salesperson to explain their problem and the salesperson determines a solution. Additionally, consumers in every market have continued to evolve. Today, 75 percent of buyers prefer to interact with online research rather than deal directly with the seller. This change in consumer purchasing is leading to 57 percent of the purchase cycle being completed without one interaction between the human consumer and seller.
Industries continue to see solutions around the consumerization of services to assist with the way individuals want to purchase. This is very prevalent in the financial services industry as organizations have brought robotic allocation tools, assisted advice channels, and digital solutions for those with more holistic financial plans. The consumer continues to demand this support, and in my opinion, the financial services industry must deliver.
What does this mean for financial services?
With this paradigm shift, there is real risk in the seller not fully understanding the buyer as they each enter the purchase cycle at more significantly different points than ever before. To put this in perspective, let’s look at the 6 steps of financial planning. Assuming a buyer is 57 percent of the way through the engagement, the advisor would already be on step four — developing and presenting the financial plan — when the human interaction begins with a client.
There are certainly different approaches for collecting data on clients and prospects as evidenced in a recent article in The Globe and Mail around the formal “know your client” process. As organizations seek ways to make this data collection process more attractive to the changing consumer, I believe the most important thing we can do is put ourselves in the consumers’ shoes, while always ensuring compliance. At Advicent, we will be delivering a Collaborative Fact Finding experience that empowers advisors to truly know the client in order to support this dynamic shift in the way consumers purchase, all while helping the largest financial institutions remain compliant in their advice delivery.
It is truly important in any industry that consumers’ needs are diagnosed before they are prescribed a solution, so let’s ensure we continue to know our clients. Remember: you have two ears and only one mouth for a reason.
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