A Fundamental Shift in the Sales Process

The days of the typical sales process are over in which the consumer speaks with a salesperson to explain their problem and the salesperson determines a solution. Additionally, consumers in every market have continued to evolve. Today, 75% of buyers prefer to deal with online research rather than interact directly with the seller. This change in consumer purchasing is leading to 57% of the purchase cycle being completed without one interaction between the human consumer and seller.

Industries continue to see solutions around the consumerization of services to assist with the way individuals want to purchase. This is very prevalent in the financial services industry, as organizations have brought robotic allocation tools, assisted advice channels, and digital solutions for those with more holistic financial plans. The consumer continues to demand this support, and the financial services industry must deliver. (For related reading, see: How Technology Creates Value for Advisors.)

What Does This Mean for Financial Services?

With this paradigm shift, there is real risk in the seller not fully understanding the buyer since recent digitization of the purchase cycle can cause both parties to begin their interactions at later stages than ever before. To put this in perspective, let us look at the six steps of financial planning. Assuming a buyer is 57% of the way through the engagement, the 21st century advisor may only begin interfacing with the client at step four—developing and presenting the financial plan.

There are certainly different approaches for collecting data on clients and prospects as evidenced in a recent article in The Globe and Mail around the formal know-your-client process. As organizations seek ways to make this data collection process more attractive to the changing consumer, one of the most impactful things we can do is put ourselves in consumers’ shoes, while always ensuring compliance. Firms must leverage technology that empowers advisors to truly know the client in order to support this dynamic shift in the way consumers purchase, all while helping the largest financial institutions remain compliant in their advice delivery.

Though there is a price tag that comes along with implementing technology, advisors should be thinking of it as an investment rather than an expense. It has been found that advisors who implement fintech solutions have almost 40% more assets under management and have attracted more investors vs. those who avoid technology.

Advisors must balance providing personal service and building a relationship while also offering the convenience that technology provides. It is important to note that digital access and human guidance can exist together. The value of the advisor still exists even with different processes put in place. Overall, advisors must provide convenience through a digital portal and remember that a certain level of personalization is just as important in building a successful client-advisor relationship. A client’s needs must be diagnosed before they are prescribed a solution, so let us ensure we continue to know our clients. (For related reading, see: The Importance of Client Journey Mapping.)

You can learn more here about the benefits of truly knowing your clients by implementing digital advice into your business strategy. This article was written by Brad Joudrie, vice president of international sales at Advicent.

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