You should look at utilizing software to cover these seven needs:
Portfolio management software for statements
Financial planning analysis software
Market / research management software
Non managed assets tracking software
Hand held pc- time and data management technology
Websites and services
Objective: The most successful financial advisors learned early on in
their career that time management is vital to success. How many time
management courses have you taken? How many software presentations
have you sat through.
If you are like me you embrace what technology
can do for your business, yet you lack the time to learn about all the
technology that can help your business. I have a file of technology to
review, yet I never seem to get to that file.
When I started in the
business in 1989, our office was still using rate books and rate cards
for insurance. Can you imagine how productive you would be if this
were the case today? Making your practice more efficient by leveraging
the use of technology.
Imagine if you sold your practice today. Do you
have systems in place for gathering data such as name and address
lists, prospect and centers of influence lists, a 90 day call rotation
schedule for your clients, a review process, a financial planning and
research process. Or are you old school and doing it on paper and by
Think of your business as a franchise. If I stepped in
tomorrow, would I have technology systems in place to carry on and
make it a productive and profitable practice? Or would I have to
search in each file for information? Look at your existing software
and see if you have all five components to make your practice an
(1) Contact management: Check out this website for links to
some great contact management programs. This is a key area of your
Portfolio Management: Most firms have packaged up software for
financial planners, but because we are individual business people, we
look for software that we know is useful to our practice. However we
don’t want to spend an enormous amount of time and energy learning
software, because we know it keeps changing and we can waste valuable
time constantly learning new systems.
The strategy is clear. Find the
best systems and technology for your practice. This means systems that
will leverage time for us, not software that promises to do more than
leverage our time. If a software vendor can’t convey this benefit to
me in five minutes or less, I simply discard it.
I need cookie cutter
systems to run my franchise. Systems that we can learn and use as a
team, not some specialty program that will take three weeks to learn
and run. Portfolio management software systems which are fully
compliant for their representatives. Make sure that you and your team
learn the best way to present information to your clients. So many
systems have graphics capabilities, and colour does sell. Colour pie
charts is an excellent way to illustrate simple concepts to clients.
(3) Financial planning analysis software. There is nothing worse than
having your client ask you after being a client for years ' do I have
enough money to retire in two years? ' You then respond by saying yes
without having a written financial plan to illustrate to them that
they indeed have enough to retire.
You may know that they have enough,
but it is more important that they understand it and they know.
Depending on the type of practice you have such as specialized estate
planning or general financial planning, your needs for this software
will vary. The basic requirements of the software should be
simulations of real life situations for retirement and estate
planning. You should also have asset allocation software for simple
and advanced portfolio analysis that can also design investment policy
statements for your clients.
While there are thousands of variations of software to examine and
hundreds of client financial planning situations, a good word
processor and spreadsheet will also do a great job of a hand crafted
(4) Market / research management software.
Years ago I had to pay thousands to have tax programs, research
programs and data available on a monthly basis. Now a lot of
information is over the internet on some excellent websites for free.
I could write another book on the internet and it’s uses for financial
planners, but I will summarize that the internet has three main uses,
research, client services and marketing communications.
See the strategy on email.
Although a majority of information is on the web, there is still a
need for professional programs to do additional research. If you sell
mutual funds, mutual fund research software can be an invaluable tool
for research and creating and simulating portfolios. This software can
also help you research insurance, stocks or other investment
(5) Non managed asset Tracking: Have a way to keep track of your
clients other assets that you do not manage. See strategy on managing
non-managed assets. How many times have you heard clients mention that
they have assets elsewhere that are not working that hard for them and
eventually they will bring them to you. You may forget about them, but
the client hasn’t. Also at the back of the book is a demo of this type
of software that I have designed for my practice and my clients find
as a valuable service to keep track of their assets.
(6) Another piece of the
puzzle is a piece of technology that replaces your pager, cell phone,
day-timer, calculator, notepad and business card index. The technology
that takes minutes to learn is an invaluable tool for time management.
The pocket pc cell phone / palm pilot system is by far the best piece
of equipment since the cell phone came along.
Have you ever driven to an
appointment and forgot the address or telephone number? Have you ever
made an appointment and had your assistant make an appointment on the
same day at the same time and not communicate effectively? With this
system, it can be an extremely effective tool for productivity. I had
a top producer introduce the system to me and in less than three
minutes, I was using the system. This is a no-brainer to add to your
(7) The Internet – Do you use the web on a daily basis? Do your
clients ? Do you have a website ? Do you use email on a regular basis?
O you have a website strategy? These questions are explored throughout
the book in additional strategies, but here are some ideas to help
you. First, see where you are spending money on software and see if
you can’t get it for free on the internet. Second, look at your
website? Can it be improved ? Third, if you are looking for a book of
business, send out an email to other representatives who have a
website in your area. Finally, check out our website for
links to the best marketing
ideas and websites for financial advisors.
Grant's Tip: Make sure you don’t spend too much time in front of your
computer screen examining and learning software programs. Some
advisors use the computer screen as a part of call reluctance. After
all you can spend countless hours on the internet at home, why not at
work. Take computer courses or have a computer trainer. Put that in
your annual planning budget.
Consider the time it takes to complete a full financial plan. Consider
hiring someone to do your financial plans. Then you would complete the
plan and add in your recommendations. I have certified financial
planners who can complete the plans for me and save a lot of time.
For your handheld pc device, make sure that with your team or
assistants you inject one rule for setting appointments. Synchronize
your software twice a day, first thing and at the end of the day and
don’t set appointments in the system for the current day.
As always with all software and technology, make sure you have backup
procedures in place and system maintenance. Find a technology person
and hire them on contract to maintain your systems.
Make sure as part of your business plan, you allocate enough resources
to technology, since technology leverages your time and can make you a
lot of money or save you a lot of time.
Ask the top planners what they use for software and ask to see samples
of their financial planning documents.
To add to my marketing plans Yes ______ No_______
Additional Information required _______
'The most important weapon on earth is the human sole on fire.'
'Effective communication is 20% what you know and 80% how you feel
about what you know.' Jim Rohn
Copyright 2003 By: Jay Conrad Levinson and Grant W. Hicks, C.I.M.,FCSI - Co-author of "Guerrilla
Marketing For Financial Advisors
", Trafford Publishing 2003.
You may use these articles in your
marketing, newsletters and web sites as long as you retain the copyright
information at the bottom, including the link to our web
site and inform us where it is being used as well as sending us a copy of
Always check with
your compliance office and or branch manager before implementing any
marketing idea. The information does not constitute a recommendation for
the sale or purchase of any securities or insurance.