Today’s successful, highly productive advisor must manage vast amounts of information seamlessly while marketing the practice and managing clients and teammates. Technology allows an advisor to be more effective, but great technology allows the advisor to be greatly effective. Below is a list of current and forthcoming technology that can make running a world-class, modern wealth management practice a reality for you and your team.
SmartPhone: The new iPhone 5C and 5S have just been introduced with enhanced Siri (voice enabled) capabilities. These allow a full range of spoken commands, including search, talk to text, voice dialing, e-mail and much more. The Samsung series of smartphones (S4, Galaxy Notes 2&3 or the new “Mini”) offers competing S-Voice, which executes numerous commands and options similar to Siri from the open source Android platform. Today’s new high-touch phones allow you to meet and exceed clients’ expectation anytime, from anywhere.
Tablet: You can complete any project successfully with the wide variety of tablets available today, which are great for on-the-go presentations. The Sony Duo 11 Tablet PC is a powerful Windows 8 based tablet and is also a full-featured PC when you open it. There is also a Microsoft Surface tablet with a snap-on keyboard. Whether you choose the latest iPad, Galaxy Tab or Windows 8 tablet, they all have a breathtaking array of apps. These apps put immediate web access to your Virtual Private Network (VPN), client data, account values, financial calculators and much more at your fingertips.
HD camera: Today’s tablets and smartphones are equipped with high-definition cameras that have extraordinary resolution and capabilities. In our office, we’ve started uploading high-quality digital videos to YouTube, as well as taking compelling pictures of client events and other items, which we post on our website and in social media. This gives clients visual experiences of all the things we have going on.
All-in-one desktop computers: HP, Sony, Lenovo, Asus and many others produce outstanding network-ready hardware that responds to touch, keyboard and even voice. Our team uses wired and wireless notebooks, as well as desktop PCs with multiple HD LCD monitors to manage client accounts, produce marketing materials and provide stunning service.
The cloud: Client presentations, documents, account information and everything else can be safely stored for your use in the cloud, whether it’s SkyDrive, Google Drive, Dropbox or any other web storage portal. The cloud allows you to access all of your files virtually, no matter where you are and no matter what device you are using. Compliance is a factor, and due care is imperative to guard sensitive client information properly.
Voice-over IP (VOIP) phones: These amazing telephones function with Ethernet connections in the office or at home. They allow clients, teammates, media and others to reach you via the internet at your normal practice extension anywhere in the world you happen to be. I have four Cisco/Linksys VOIP phones in my Colorado and Arizona offices. All of those phones, as well as my smartphone, ring when my extension is dialed, making it easy to stay in touch with clients and colleagues no matter where I am.
Conferencing software: About 60 percent of our client meetings are done via web conferencing applications, such as Skype and GoToMeeting. Web conferencing allows several people to be on the line while being in different locations worldwide. These programs give the sense of “in person” meetings. Pick the programs you decide are easiest for your presentations, but don’t forget to consider ease of use on the client end.
In addition to the technology above, some of the greatest technology tools I received are through my membership in the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT):
MDRT Talk: These are short on-the-go audio segments straight from experienced MDRT veterans. I’ve learned new productivity ideas, tips to master best practices and much more in 4-5 minute audio recordings. These help those new to the industry, as well as the more seasoned advisors, learn new techniques to leverage processes.
MDRT Connect: This tool provides live video streaming and exhibitor resources for members to strengthen relationships and boost business. This gives members exclusive content on demand to help them better serve their clients, advance their careers and lead more satisfying lives.
MDRT Network: The MDRT Network enables members to search for fellow members, topics, documents or groups worldwide. This dynamic platform encourages interaction and the exchange of ideas in a private, controlled environment. It helps members to share intellectual capital and experience camaraderie.
Technology should not be intimidating, but it should complement and enhance everyday business practices. Taken one step at a time, each element can be simple for you and your team to implement with a little effort, some patience, and perhaps a competent IT professional. Combining great technology with your unique talent for finding and taking care of clients can take you to the next level in record time.