Most financial transactions boil down to one-on-one human relationships. When you deposit money into a bank, you trust the teller to make a note on your account and put the money where it belongs. Tenants give landlords rent every month and trust the building owners will fix things when they break. Personal investors rely on wealth advisors for guidance, education and decision making.
If an advisor appears unprepared or uncaring to a client, she erodes that precious relationship. Wealth management firms must ensure their advisors maintain one-on-one intimacy with each client -- even at scale with large client bases. In order to do so, firms have always taken pains to prepare detailed, compliant and relevant face-to-face meetings and presentations. Yet those hours of preparation cut into entire firms' effectiveness. It's time to embrace speed and automation in the process of preparing presentations -- and enhance the one-on-one relationship in the process.
Good Relationships Take WorkIn order to establish and nurture trust, wealth advisors must convey concern, knowledge and a sense of ‘being in this together' with the client. Such resonance doesn't come automatically. Before a presentation, firms must manually acquire the right information about each prospect. That often means mining prospects by going through a checklist of survey questions and manually generating a presentation based on a prospect's answers. Advisors must also pull other variables, such as retirement accounts, net worth and income statements that are different for each client. Even if the information doesn't change, such as names and date of birth, it often must be re-entered manually every time.
After compiling all this information, content must be blessed by the compliance department, who often approve each presentation individually -- a process that can take weeks during busy periods. Once approved, the advisor is ready to see the client.
As we all know, each presentation is different. In addition because of the labor involved with the preparation of each report, advisors might not spend that much time actually advising clients. Still, many wealth management firms still find laborious process of preparing reports necessary, when it really isn't. There are many options to create resonance without manual processes. Firms must take a leap and trust that once the process itself is improved, it will compound their investment in trust equity.
Think DifferentlyWe've established that it takes a lot of work to build client relationships, but how much of that work is really necessary? Today's wealth management firms have technology at their disposal that can help them shave time and labor off the presentation creation process.
For one, advisors can save hours of research by using search tools to scan everything from internal emails to MorningStar. Any data about a client that doesn't change, such as birthdays and kids' names, can be plugged into a presentation template that is populated with dynamic data, such as account balances. If compliance can approve the templates with static information—with the assumption that wealth advisors will populate the information that changes—this will save the backlog that comes with approving each slide individually. Such “controlled personalization” gives advisors the ability to make personalized selections that are marketing- and compliance-approved. The entire team will remain on-brand, but individual advisors can remain nimble and autonomous from headquarters. Moreover, giving advisors the ability to bring up any client's information from any device, instantly, saves trips back and forth between the device and desktop.
The entire process of relationship building becomes faster and more mobile. Think of the implications. For one, advisors aren't bounded by time constraints of preparing slides, and can see more clients as a result. Personalized meetings can happen anywhere and on the fly. There's no stall time between a client requesting a meeting and the time it takes to prepare materials.
Advisors spend more time meeting with clients and less time preparing. As advisors become more available to clients, trust deepens. Client retention increases, and clients grow impressed enough with advisors to refer friends. The reputation of the entire wealth management firm grows. The one-on-one investment compounds many times over.
Isn't it time to take your firm's client relationships one step further?
About The Author: Doug Winter serves as Chief Executive Officer and founder of Seismic, the only platform that enables LiveDoc creation for brand-approved, real-time enterprise content management. Doug previously co-founded Objectiva Software Solutions, which was acquired by EMC Document Sciences in 2004. Doug was the COO and General Manager at Document Sciences until founding Seismic in 2010. He holds a MSEE and an MBA from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a BSEE from Virginia Tech.