Is there a better way

A long time ago I wrote an article called “Is There A Better Way?“. In it I talked about the need for us to step back and analyse what we do and ask ourselves the question “Is there a better way?”.

In a lot of cases, if we think objectively we can find a better, more efficient way to do something.

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about this concept and it’s been reinforced by some events over the past few weeks.

In no particular order, here are some things we need to think about.

Do clients need to come into our office every time?

I don’t think they do. I understand that when selling a service, trust is very important. And one good way to build trust is through having a good relationship and meeting in the flesh is a good way of doing that. I get it. But for a lot of things, do we need the clients to come in to our office?

They’re busy. Can we do it over the phone? Or better still, can we organise a Skype video call or web meeting so they can sit in front of their computer, we can sit in front of ours and have a conversation.

Which brings me on to my next point.

Do our preferred hours suit our clients?

Maybe they do, maybe they don’t. I understand all the arguments for clients coming into our offices during office hours. But for some people it’s inconvenient.

And perhaps as time goes on there’s an opportunity for advisers to provide a service outside of traditional opening hours. Maybe using technology to help that process.

Your Powerpoint slides are killing me!

Powerpoint bores meI’ve sat in a couple of presentations recently where the use of Powerpoint slides drove me crazy!

If you put up eight bullet points on a slide, I’ve read them all before you’ve read past point one.

And if all you’re doing is reading out those points, stop wasting your time. Let us read them.

And those slides where you put up a diagram filled with text – no good. We can’t read it. Too much text.

And if you ever feel the need to apologize for a slide (i.e. sorry about this slide, there’s a fair bit of text on it) you shouldn’t be using it. Change it.

Here’s my advice. Watch a few TED talks. See how the good presenters use their slides.

Use lots of images – photos are cheap and effective.

I think this is the problem – many people learnt to use Powerpoint ten years ago. Now that internet speeds are so much faster and technology is better, we can use photos, audio and video in our presentations, yet very few people do. Is there a better way?

Giving Advice

You already know I think we’re incredibly myopic when it comes to giving advice. People want to pay for advice, not for a product. Yet because our industry has come from a product selling / commission-based approach, that’s the legacy we’re still dealing with. And it still affects our decisions.

Why do we still need clients to complete a paper-based fact find? Can’t they do a lot of that online before they come in?

And risk profiling. Why do we think the only relevant risk is the one of losing money due to volatility? What about the risk of not meeting your goals? Or the risk of getting sick and not being able to work anymore? Why aren’t they included in a risk assessment?

Digital signatures?

Don’t be silly, that’s all too hard. Why would we want to make it easy to give advice to someone we’re not seeing face-to-face? Let’s make it ok to email them the statement of advice, but force them to print out our authority to proceed and all the product forms to sign and post back to us.

And while we’re back in the 80’s how about transferring money between super funds? Can’t do that quickly, can we?

Who will change this?

So who are the people in our industry who will stand up and make a change? I know there are some people who see things differently and are quietly changing how financial advice is provided.

The point is this – anyone can bring change. We need innovators who ask the question “Is there a better way?” and, when they find the answer, decide to do something about it.