Get Real – Accepting Advisors’ Natural Tendencies (And What To Do About It)

Sunday, June 20, 2010 21:37
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Get Real – Accepting Advisors’ Natural Tendencies (And What To Do About It)

Having worked within a planning firm and with planners for over a decade, here’s what I observed about advisors’ tendencies.

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By the end of a two hour meeting with a client, you are often wrung out. The last thing you want to, or *will* do, is go back to your desk and type up your meeting notes into your contact management system. The advisors I know give everything they have to a client in a meeting. Emotionally, you’ve moved on. You have e-mails to answer, your voicemail light is flashing.   Let’s be real. The last thing you want to do is rehash everything you’ve just spent the last two hours discussing.
 
For the most part (and I know I’m generalizing here), advisors *will* not use technology the same way their staff does, nor the way that most or their staff expect them to.
 
So, if the owners’ of a firm everyone in the firm to document every conversation with clients in the firm’s contact management system, but won’t do it themselves, what do you do about it?
 
For an enlightened staff member, the answer is – don’t expect the owner/advisors to dramatically change their behavior when deploying a new technology (in this example, a given contact management system), unless, and here’s the kicker, you deploy it in a way that works they way they naturally do. Here’s why:
 
Most advisors became advisors because they are really good at explaining complicated concepts. They love challenges and they love new ideas. They can commit to following a process and can actually follow a process for a week or maybe two, before they experience drift. Bottom line, they lose interest in a process, because a process requires them to be consistent – essentially do the same thing as before.  In Kolbe language, such a person is the quintessential “quick start.” If these individuals are not understood or managed effectively, this can cause a lot of tension, and in some cases, resentment in an office.
 
The solution to an owner/advisor not following a process or technology they committed to is:  from the outstart, make the technology work for them, the way they naturally think and behave. 
 
In other words, we know that in most cases, it’s unrealistic for an advisor to type up their own meeting notes. So, what ARE realistic options that provide a much greater chance of success for the firm as a whole?
 
  1. use digital dictation – either a dictation service such as Copytalk or dictation software such as Dragon Naturally Speaking. Obviously, for this solution to work, the advisor should not have to think at all, so all of the set up should be performed for them by someone else, who walks them through a dry run, then positively and frequently reinforces the desired behavior.
For example, most advisors can consistently spend a couple of minutes verbally running through meeting highlights from the scribbled notes on their legal pad (decisions made, next actions for the client, next actions for the firm). Then a “proxy” who interacts with the technology, assigns the action items into the contact management system.   This is such a simple solution that works very effectively and enables the advisor to work using their natural tendencies – a quick brain dump, and they’re done.
 
  1. work collaboratively with the client in the meeting – this solution works well for some percentage of advisors who are good at multitasking and enjoy dynamic interaction with clients. Essentially, someone on their team preps a mindmap prior to each client meeting, which makes it simple for the advisor to update the mindmap throughout the meeting. At the end of the meeting, the mind map serves as the meeting debrief which can be delivered to the client immediately at the end of the meeting and to the staff to update the CRM. 
  2. Partner with a notetaker - Growing firms bring someone else from their staff into every client meeting to be the notetaker. They see this as a terrific investment, because they are mentoring junior advisors in real time while simultaneously and intentionally fostering other relationships between the client and their team besides the seasoned advisor.
Bottom line – haven’t we all experienced someone trying to push our round peg into their square hole?   Not only does it not work effectively, in a short time, it doesn’t work at all.
 
Firms that have proxies who interact with technology on behalf of owners/entrepreneurs and other quick starts in the firm are frequently more successful than counterparts who haven’t tapped into this discovery. So much more gets accomplished by the firm each day, week and year because the advisors spend much more time using their natural ability, or what I call engaging their brilliance.
 
What processes in your firm do you dread partaking in?   How could these business processes be transformed so you get the desired results without being a lynchpin to the input?

 

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