Imagine you are in one of those 80’s action movies like James Bond or a Indiana Jones and you are trapped inside a room made of stone, it’s cold and dull and you are not comfortable, you feel something is wrong, now you notice the walls started moving in towards you, clearly designed to crush you, you can hear the stone walls grinding against the floor as it moves in the sound is piercing, like fingernails scraped down a chalkboard, you push hard against one of the walls then the other to stop them but they are to heavy, and the momentum is against you.
You look around a room and there’s nothing you can do there’s no exit no way to get out and no matter how hard you push you can’t stop these walls moving in, they getting closer now and you can put your arms out and reach both walls, you spread your legs to try and stop them and they keep moving towards you.
Now freeze that image right there, pause the picture and sound and step out of the picture and look at yourself standing there with your arms out.
What is the expression on your face look like?
What advice do you have for the person in that picture?
Right now many advisers the feeling this way in their businesses, the stone represents things that are set in stone, one of the walls represents the changes we have seen in our industry and the momentum means we are not there yet, we still have 2 more years before the changer we know about come into effect. In no particular order: fee disclosure, best interest, opt in, life insurance framework, education standards, national exam, fee for service, FOFA, the list goes on.
The other wall represents your business cash-flow, cost to service going up, cost of not servicing high, stuck in unforgiving bad systems that slow you down, and the only way out of this shrinking room is through technology and efficiency.
Systems and processes that free up your time, reduce your cost to service and help you have a stronger engagement with your clients. These products, systems and processes are out there we have seen then, researched them and will continue to do so as they enter the market.
Think about the advice you gave yourself before?
If you are looking for a way to exit the pressure of being trapped between a rock and a hard place, let’s have a conversation.
I talk to a lot of advisers connected to a range of AFSLs……and I mean a lot of advisers. I’m often horrified at some of the “directives” these dealerships seem to think are acceptable! By directives I mean “we now want all advisers to do xyz….” Most of the time I wonder whether these directives are actually thought bubbles that somehow end up seeing the light of day, without anyone stopping to ask, “why are we doing this?”
You may think I’m joking….but here are some examples of this insanity.
A financial adviser and social media friend told her dealership that she had set up a business twitter account as a way of communicating with “her market”. Some bright spark, control freak or whatever you want to call them, clearly knowing nothing about social media or twitter, decided that the best way for her to make sure she was compliant was for her to send them the wording she was going to tweet so they could “approve” each tweet before being sent out! When asked how many minutes this approval would take, she told it would take several days to be approved!!! Now to be fair, this was few years ago but someone still thought that this was a necessary/“helpful” process.
Another example I heard a few weeks ago was a dealership who decided that all personal information being sent via email now needed to be “encrypted”. Now in theory this is best practice, but when an adviser asked them how they recommended the advisers encrypt the data, the response was “just use something like “win zip”. What? Say that again? “Just use winzip”? I was really hoping that he had heard wrong! What this highlights is the lack of understanding of some of the other dealerships out there who don’t know and don’t research what innovative technologies are available and there are more being released all the time.
As I said, I theoretically don’t have an issue with encrypting personal client information…In fact, we are currently testing one of the newest applications on the market and I can guarantee that “winzip” isn’t it! It is a very cool email encryption service that is integrated into either outlook or google apps and seamlessly sends, tracks receipt and reports on encrypted emails.
The technology is there, you just need someone to take the reigns and see what new solution or technology works for you so that these directives don’t continue to be so frustrating for advice firms.
Luddite(n): One who fears new technology (as they seem pleased with how things currently are… “why can’t everything just be the same?”)
As some of you will know I’m no spring chicken, but there is a phase that many of my mates, and dare I say many people significantly younger than me, say “don’t talk to me about technology”… “I’m a luddite”. Now I don’t mind that they see themselves as a “luddite” but what I find perplexing is that they wear this label as some sort of badge of honour.