Advisers are being sold technology to solve their problems at every corner, said Greg Friedman, founder, CEO and president of Private Ocean.
“Technology is so oversold to all of us,” Friedman said at a recent FPA Retreat 2017 session.
It’s a combination of technology and staff training that is the key to managing business challenges, Friedman said. He knows this because during his time in the industry, he’s seen some things.
“I am the poster child for every problem this industry has,” Friedman said, who started Friedman and Associates in 1991 at age 28 with two associates—his twin toddlers—and now the company has “evolved through all stages.” Private Ocean—the result of a merger between Friedman and Associates and Salient Wealth Management—now has 24 full-time employees and seven advisers.
Friedman gave attendees tips on how to solve the four common business challenges—business development, marketing, time management and efficiency.
Utilize available technology. Prospecting becomes easier if you have software that can show you how you are possibly connected to prospects. Friedman uses Relationship Science, which allows planners to plug in a name and see all the connections that adviser potentially has with that prospect.
Marketing automation is another helpful piece of technology. When prospects enter their email on your site, the automation will automatically send the prospect something and then notify you when you have a bite, Friedman said.
Don’t forget CRM.
“CRM is core,” Friedman emphasized. “I don’t care which ones you use, but use one.”
Develop and reward employees. Friedman said having the staff on board is a must for success.
“Having that data and having those systems means nothing if people don’t know how to use it or know how to get clients,” he said, also suggesting that firms provide ongoing sales training and coaching. If advisers are uncomfortable with “sales” training, call it “relationship,” “communication,” or “consulting” training.
Designing a compensation structure that rewards top advisers while not penalizing advisers who don’t meet goals is a way to motivate advisers, Friedman said.
Implement service models effectively. It’s unsustainable to give an eclectic mix of clients the full range of your services, so pick the clients who may not be a match for you and figure out a way to gently steer them to a more appropriate firm or planner.
Also, define what your services are and make more efficient assignments, giving the simple client cases to junior associate advisers and free up time of your more experienced advisers to take on the more profitable, complex clients.
Outsource when needed. Private Ocean outsources some of its marketing efforts to a company called Set Wave, which helps it use social media in the most effective ways.