Consideration and Collaboration as a Catalyst

Consideration and Collaboration as a Catalyst

By Kelly Gustafson, Founding Member, Advocis Technology & Innovation Committee

Embracing personalization and delivering high-quality wealth management solutions begins with understanding and relating.

At their best, new technologies can expand our way of thinking, aggregate information in new, accessible ways or simplify previously complex processes. Financial advisors have a clear need to embrace new technologies and implement them in their day-to-day operations. Used correctly, they assist us in providing unprecedented personalization in our role as fiduciary to our clients and facilitating higher levels of engagement and service delivery in a fraction of the time.

While new technologies are a great way to connect with prospects and many of our current clients, there is the possibility of a disconnect with our older clients or those who are unfamiliar with the financial landscape. These groups may not trust technology solutions or simply not be as adept with using them as others. The distrust that is inadvertently created will inevitably transition to those who introduce the technology. It is important that financial advisors ensure information and service remain accessible to all. It may be more important to work with senior clients who are uncertain about technology or those with limited experience to explain how to use a tool and the benefits it provides. Constant change and new technologies are here to stay, however comfort is key for these groups. While it can seem daunting to invest the required time to help navigate understanding and challenges, these conversations and collaborations are critical for engagement and important to protecting your clients and their information.

Meeting your clients in a place of comfort with technology is just one aspect of a broader need to understand the people we work with on a personal level. Embracing diversity and a deeper grasp of who your clients and prospects are leads to the right conversations about wealth and future planning. Technology can help, but having a team with a breadth of genders, ages, and experience, among others, will help you navigate your biases or the biases and objections held by your clients to arrive at the best financial solutions.

We have seen this approach work at our own firm over the past year as we have opened a new, high-tech office, added team members and seen our client base expand and grow. Our team is made up of women and men, Boomers to Millennials to Gen Z, people with broad industry experience outside finance, people with kids and without, people who have been through a divorce, people who have lost loved ones earlier than expected and people from urban and rural backgrounds.

We spend a considerable amount of time walking a mile in our clients’ shoes. That means understanding how they think and feel about their life and their finances, their areas of excellence and objections they may have, and how we can best tailor our services to them. We challenge each other on our assumptions, and everyone brings a unique perspective to the team.

If you are not yet embracing new technology or if you haven’t invested the time to understand your own biases as well as your clients’ biases on a personal level, it is a must if you are going to thrive in the new business environment. It will be time well spent when the trust you build sees clients and prospects alike turning to you for advice and guidance on all of their wealth matters.

Kelly Gustafson is a Founding Member of the Advocis Technology & Innovation Committee.