The Hybrid Financial Advisor
COVID-19 and 2020, now what?
It’s been over a year since the world went into lockdown.
We all know how this greatly affected so many aspects of our lives. Some good. Some bad.
Although not out of the woods yet, I believe we can see the tree line.
But what happens now, what does the future look like, especially for the financial services industry?
Growing by Force is still Growing
The Pandemic forced our industry into the Virtual Model like nothing else could have. Almost overnight financial advisors where forced to work remotely. This was a wake up call to the industry, one that has forever worked belly-to-belly.
Well, necessity surely is the mother of not only invention, but motivation and in my opinion this wake up call was way overdue.
This led to so many growing pains; advisors didn’t know how to work virtually. They didn’t know how to do this thing called “digital marketing”. All of a sudden advisors were forced out of offices and networking events and were relegated to their “home office” trying to figure it all out.
So many frustrating moments were had and so many advisors where left wondering, “how do I do this virtually?” The silver lining is that this forced growth environment still led to growth and evolution.
Yes, growing pains hurt, but it does mean we’re growing.
Like a Pendulum
2020 was an extreme year.
The pendulum swung way over to the other side as the world made the Virtual Shift. And just like a pendulum things will start to revert back to the norm, but not the “normal” we all knew just over a year ago.
The “new normal” is an annoying and cliché term but it does mean we find ourselves in a changed world. And once change happens it is very hard to undo it.
This change has been in swing for over 20 years. How’s the saying go? “Change approaches slowly but happens quickly.” Well that’s exactly what happened. We’ve been in the midst of a global megatrend for over 20 years. The changes have been happening all around us.
Amazon, eHarmony, Zoom, the list goes on. Think about it….Virtually all of the technological innovations that have developed during this megatrend where things that allowed us to work, live, and consume on a Virtual level.
COVID-19 was simply the finality of the old normal going away.
So where will the pendulum end up for financial advisors? Well, here is my prediction.
The Hybrid Financial Advisor
The following opinion/prediction is based upon the countless comments I have heard from other advisors sprinkled with a dash of my own bias.
I recently received this note from an advisor I have never met or spoken with:
“I read your “Proclamation” — it contradicts the standard “contact as many people as you can and try to convince them to be your clients” model. I still get the standard “When I started, we would flip through the phonebook and call as many people as we could and that’s how I built my business — you should do the same”. But that doesn’t feel comfortable. In fact, I think that it’s disrespectful. I don’t want to be “that guy” everyone avoids.”
I have spoke to hundreds of college students who will be graduating with their CFP designation.
- That they want to be Planners, not Prospecting Pirates
- That they want to work at least semi-virtually
I’ve had hundreds of one-on-one conversations with financial advisors around the world.
What are they all saying?
So what does this all mean? Well, simple, the desire of the majority is that they want to do things differently. Combine this with what the consumer wants and we have the new landscape we find ourselves in.
Instead of cold calling, driving to appointments, running expensive brick & mortar offices, and everything else that comes with it and pushing products, financial advisors want something different.
They want to be trusted. Respected.
They want balance. They want to work more efficiently. They want more inbound ideal clients instead of making outbound cheesy pitches.
The sweet spot will be accomplished by running a hybrid financial advisory practice.
What COVID-19 helped the financial services industry realize is that not only can advisors work virtually, but they can thrive doing it.
But what I am also hearing is that most advisors still want and enjoy some aspects of the brick & mortar model, mainly the in-person meeting aspect.
Hybrid Advisors are simply changing the medium for how they conduct business, things like:
- Instead of Prospecting (cold calling, etc.) they will now harness the power of digital marketing
- Instead of spending 6+ 40 hour work weeks a year in the car they can meet with more clients to do the work that really matters from the convenience of their virtual office
- Instead of paying high overhead for a large office advisors will have a smaller, less expensive physical footprint, but a massive digital one
- Instead of pushing product to pay for the old ways of doing business, now more emphasis can be placed on planning since there is less overhead pressure
- Instead focusing on the old status symbols of wealth, advisors will have them as a byproduct of the new symbols of wealth:
Because it blends the best of both worlds while cutting out the dated baggage that has been holding us back.
The world has changed.
We have a choice to acknowledge the change that has clearly happened around us, or cling to a past that is going extinct.
I am excited for the hybrid financial advisor to thrive as we get settled in this new era.
How do you see things changing? Are you excited or worried?
Sending positive vibes your way,
Originally published at https://www.linkedin.com.