Google yesterday launched Helpouts, a way for anyone anywhere to get expert advice on any subject anytime. Should you sign up? More importantly, is Google Helpouts important in the evolution of the financial advice business cum profession?
There are no clear answers to either question. Google’s many failures are well-documented
. The company’s willingness to launch new businesses has filled a graveyard of spectacular flops with funny names like Buzz, Wave and plain names like Answers, Video Player, and Audio Ads. Helpouts, the new venture anounced yesterday on Google’s Offiicial Blog by Udi Manber, could be a candidate for Google’s graveyard of failures or it just might catch on. I think it's going to work.
This Website Is For Financial Professionals Only
Helpouts lets you choose who you get help from based experts on their qualifications, availability, price, ratings and reviews. Powered with crowd-sourced data, Helpouts holds the potential to become the Amazon of professional services. It may take a decade or longer for Helpouts to become a mainstream service, but it could transform the way professional services are delivered.
For financial advice professionals who work on an hourly basis, you are a natural candidate for utilizing Google Helpouts. In fact, Google Helpouts is the best thing ever to happen to hourly financial planning. Suddenly, you have a global marketplace for your services. The sooner you get started on building reviews and ratings, the better it will be for you.
Hourly advisors that aggressively pursue business on Google Helpouts early can gather momentum before most other professionals even know about its potential. If you start early, you could gain important momentum by building a track record of high ratings and favorable reviews.
Right now, Helpouts has almost no financial advisor participation. For now, you can get advice from an expert in only eight subject areas--such as computers, education and health. But a financial category can't be too far off. And it will attract some financial professionals.
Google Helpouts can be a good way to gain professional experience for young CFPs, CFAs, CPAs, and CIMAs. Young advisors generally understand social networking and online relationships better than older advisors, and Helpouts could be a bastion for budding young professionals.
And if you're a 65-year old financial advice profssional, listing on Google Helpouts is a fantastic way to keep busy and help people.
Established professionals are a lot less likely to get involved with Google Helpouts because the economics won’t make sense to you. Why would you spend a lot of your time to work with a person who has a problem and won’t ever contact you again? Once you tell this client what to do with their IRA, how to invest to fund a child’s college education, or whether they have set aside enough to retire, he or she might never call you again.
If you are willing to compete with hourly advisors, then you may find many of these “transactional” clients that hire you on Google Helpouts want to hire you to the manage their money on an ongoing basis. Which brings up another point.
Just because you list your financial advice services on Helpouts doesn’t mean you are suddenly running an online business that commoditizes delivery of financial advice. It does not cheapen what you do and who you are. In fact, it carries with it a certain cache of being really with it. In addition, a listing on Helpouts is probably going to help boost your ranking in Google Search.
If Helpouts allows advisors to carve out niches in local places and gain search advantages by participating actively in Helpouts and getting good ratings, it can be a very powerful platform for professional services and that fosters building long-term relationships. It could provide a huge marketing boost to advisors who get good ratings and deserve the business.
Imagine being able to post a Google Helpouts badge on your website’s home page showing your Google Helpouts rating. Finally, being a five-star advisor could actually have some meaning.