By Mark Nagle
Wow what a whirlwind on conference duty in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne and what a great opportunity to speak to 400 advisers across these three days at the IFA Business Strategy Day 2015.
While the experience in each state was a little different the key theme was consistent, advisers (and therefore our consumers) are struggling with their “Why”.
To be really good at what you do and to be able to clearly demonstrate your value you must first understand “Why” as in why do you do what you do? I think this is particularly pertinent for financial advisers as we provide a highly personal service. I did read an article the other day where financial advisers were being considered the modern day priests or clergy. I’m not sure I would go that far, but we are likely to hold the most personal relationships with our clients outside those of close family and maybe medical practitioners.
We are in a privileged position where we can influence, guide and enhance our clients’ abilities to enjoy more rewarding lives.
In the same way a customer must understand “Why” when they buy a product (what value do I get for the price I pay),one thing is for sure; if the person selling the product cannot articulate “Why”, the customer will have little chance of deciphering the value.
And herein lies the biggest challenge to the buyers and sellers of financial advice!
An anecdote from the IFA conferences serves to perfectly illustrate this problem. At a tea break after my presentation, an adviser came up to me and wanted to understand what I meant when I said at Treysta we “outsource” our investment service. After I explained this to him he looked at me with genuine puzzlement and replied “well, what do you DO for your clients then?” I then asked him to think back over his 30 year career and consider all of the great successes he’s enjoyed with his clients; the days where he felt really good about the work that he did; the moments where he genuinely changed clients’ lives. You could almost see the epiphany unfolding as he acknowledged “it’s never been about the investments has it?”
Unfortunately most advisers still anchor their “Why” and therefore their value on selecting managed funds or picking stocks. Their “Why” is purely on the investment piece. In our experience, this is not what clients value, and the reason our industry is often at the wrong end of narratives in the mainstream press.
At Treysta we are very clear about our “Why”. We understand where we can best serve our clients and so have created a business that allows our advisers to spend more time enhancing the relationships they have with those clients.
Last week I had the opportunity to provoke other advisers to reconsider why they do what they do and to think about what their clients genuinely value. If I succeeded, more Australians will receive a better advice experience going forward; one based on relationships not product; one centred on creating more fulfilling lives, not one that is solely investment centric.