10 Signs You Need to Be a “Hybrid” Advisor
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Most advisors don’t consider themselves a “hybrid” of traditional and digital advising. But the pandemic has fundamentally shifted client and advisor expectations for value. Reverting to pre-pandemic workflows and communication will miss the mark
Instead, advisors need to permanently adopt digital advantages while preserving the unique value of in-person advising. Here are the 10 signs that it’s time to go at least partially digital for good.
Since the start of the pandemic, I’ve heard from advisors who have been looking forward to getting back to normal. Few say, “I need to be a hybrid of in person and online.”
It’s understandable to feel this way – many advisors had been conducting business in a traditional, in-person model for years. It’s natural to want to return to the office-based groove.
However, that in-person advising groove you were in now sounds like a scratched vinyl record. Why? Remote, online meetings and work can be just as effective – and in many ways more enjoyable – than meeting in person. Especially when you’re the client!
The future for many advisors is hybrid – a mix of in-person and online business that meets the modern, emerging needs of both clients and advisors.
Do you need to be a hybrid advisor? Here are 10 signs to consider.
- Clients want a mix
Your clients have seen the value of online for certain meetings, either with you or at work. They’ll want to continue on this path, even though you’d like to meet in person. Mass-affluent and high-net-worth clients will go where they get what they want, so if this is their desire, you’re a hybrid advisor!
- You deal with cancellations
Late cancellations and the holes they create in your schedule are the bane of productivity. You have found, however, that canceled online meetings do far less damage to your schedule. So why not continue to schedule online meetings with your least-dependable clients?
- You’re tired of driving
You had probably gotten used to the stress of driving to client meetings…until it went away. Now you’re dreading the thought of fighting resurgent rush hour traffic, and you’re not alone. Especially for the more remote corners of your client universe, using a hybrid advisor strategy cuts down the miles and the stress of travel on a deadline.
- You have high-maintenance, low-asset clients
Do they want to meet too often? Are your in-person meetings too long, and something you could have covered on a phone call? In cases like these, your business requirements may trump client preference – you need to adopt a hybrid advising strategy for your own sake.
- You’re prospecting
Spoiler alert: Prospects will want to meet you online first. If you’re prospecting, you need to be a hybrid advisor.
- You’re trying to retain clients across generations
It’s hard to build bridges to beneficiaries and heirs…but it’s easier if you use online strategies to create connectivity and intergenerational dialogue. Why? Because the next generation wants their advising delivered online more than ever.
- You want to increase your geographic reach
I live in Wisconsin and my financial advisor lives in North Carolina. Because of online technology, Derek can generate referrals from me and generate enough interest online to justify a business trip here – or not. Regardless of whether he ever sees me in person, he’s serving my needs.
- Your staff prefers hybrid
Not sure if your staff would prefer a mix of in-person and online work? Just ask them.
- You need to be ready for anything
Unfortunately, you need to be prepared for the next major disruption to work, pandemic or otherwise. Adopting a hybrid strategy, where clients stay comfortable with online meetings, protects your relationships from future cataclysmic events.
- You like productivity
The less unplanned, unproductive “white space” in your day, the more productive you are. When you can fill in more of those blanks with more than just a phone call, you’re using your most valuable resource – time – to communicate more effectively. That’s productive, and why you may need to be a hybrid advisor.
You need to be a hybrid advisor. Unless you’re sunsetting your career and selling your practice, all signs point to hybrid advising as the future – and the present – of the profession. Plan and execute accordingly!
Dan Smaida trains and coaches advisors and planners on the art and science of consulting. Dan’s expertise comes from 23 years of selling his own professional advice, and from helping more than 20,000 financial professionals around the world improve their consulting skills. Reach Dan at [email protected].