We have all seen them, “The ultimate guide for a Financial Advisor,” “Everything a Financial Advisor needs to know”, “The Advisor Coach,” Iris etc. But how many of you have actually found this information useful and applicable to you? The biggest problem with these CRM Models or free software is that the programs have not been able to keep up with the ever-changing financial industry. One example of this is CRM 2 which was just released in July 2017.

CRM 2 Here we see the financial industry taking on more responsibility and transparency.  As expected, with the introduction of CRM and CRM 2, many changes will have to take place to ensure that the client’s needs are met.

As a Financial Advisor, this will give you the opportunity to re-explore the relationship with your client as well as understand where you can improve. The bottom line is, whether you are a new Financial Advisor, in the middle of your career or a seasoned veteran, you will never be short of the need for advice and how to be better. Below I will offer you a few tips on how to better understand your current role, be better so that you can excel and hopefully answer many of the questions that you came here looking for!

The basics of a Financial Advisor

I know- here we go, another run-of-the-mill breakdown of “the role.” But it is important to make sure that you understand the basics and have them perfected before we try to build on them. Many people will ask “What is a Financial Advisor,” or “What is the difference between a Financial Service representative or a Financial Advisor.” I come from a background of working in the retail bank sector and I can tell you that when I worked in a branch, many (Including advisors), were not able to create a clear distinction.

Investopedia defines a Financial Advisor as (“A professional who helps individuals manage their finances by providing advice on money issues such as investments, insurance, mortgages, college savings, estate planning, taxes, and retirement, depending on what the client requests. Some financial advisors are paid a flat fee for their advice, while others earn commissions from the investments they sell to their clients. Fee-only arrangements are widely regarded to be better for the client.”)

So you have the basics, but the definition omits everything else that your role entails.

I think that this is the biggest discrepancy in being an advisor. The definition above really only outlines the pure basics of an FA. The true source of your success will lie within your relationship with the client and how this will be sustained. Although you should have this perfected, there is a huge scale of knowledge and understanding that will be necessary to implement via a CRM (Customer Relations Model) that will help you to become more successful in your role.

What is a CRM?

The Customer Relations Model is the single most important tool that you, as an FA can have. The implementation of a strong CRM model is what will make or break you in this fast-paced industry. (The term CRM refers to the management, implementation, practices, strategies, and technologies that many companies use to manage and analyze customer interactions and data throughout the customer lifecycle, with the goal of improving business relationships with customers, assisting in customer retention and driving sales growth. CRM systems and software are designed to compile information on customers across different channels — or points of contact between the customer and the company — which could include the company’s website, telephone, live chat, direct mail, marketing materials and social media. CRM systems can also give customer-facing staff detailed information on customers’ personal information, purchase history, buying preferences and concerns).

COLE’S NOTES:  CRM is a strategy with technology to integrate various business units to perform only one goal – serve customer better. It manages your customers, relationships and interactions and ultimately increases sales.

The bottom line is, whether you are new to your role, still growing within your role or a seasoned veteran, a strong CRM model is crucial in order to build your success. You may be asking, “But really, how crucial is the implementation of a CRM Model to my role as an FA?”

I am going to bring back the example of CRM 2, because it is quite relevant and important when building on a strong model.

To be frank, you are only as good as your CRM. You can be the best at selling products or making first impressions but unless you are able to maintain strong relationships with clients, analyze the interactions, create strong points of contact on a regular basis etc, you will not be the strongest in your field.  Many guides will breakdown sales tactics and analyze the best way to coerce a client and this is the wrong path to go down. So let me now break this down for you.

  1. Start implementing a CRM system that you are going to use on a regular basis. Finaeo, for example, is a great tool and resource for this.
  2. Once you have identified the right model for you, start gathering your information and uploading into your CRM software
  3. Define your strongest points of contact that can be implemented with your clients. Remember, all of your clients will have different preferences as some may want to be contacted via phone, emails, skype etc.
  4. Really define the key needs of your clients’ portfolios. This step is important because it will allow you to evaluate how much you know about your clients. If you find gaps, this is your opportunity to reach out and gather more information, book another meeting etc.

Implementation and Process

Now you have an understanding of what it takes to be a successful FA. You may have had many of these ideas already but hopefully, I have provided a central forum for you to gather your thoughts and information. At the end of the day, your success will come from your ability to build and maintain relationships with your clients. Having the strong sense to know and foresee what your clients may or may not need, will set you apart.

Up next in part 2 of our 3 part series, we will take you through an in depth evaluation list you can use when selecting a CRM.

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