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How Even a Little Technology Can Help Grow Your Practice

Let’s face it, you really can’t run a modern-day practice without using some form of technology. Technology can be the difference between a “so-so” year and a “great” year full of profit. Some of the greatest keys to a great year are making sure you have a solid system for following up with prospects, a presentation software to illustrate your recommendations to clients and a program that helps you better communicate and market with everyone who comes in contact with your firm.
 
It begins with a contact resource management (CRM) system
 
If you find your office is covered with colorful sticky notes everywhere, you may need some help — in the form of a reputable CRM system. The use of a CRM system has helped my practice in many ways. 
 
I once had a referral with a net worth of $45 million. He wanted help with doing a 1031 exchange on some real estate he planned to sell. Each time we spoke, I would make detailed notes in my CRM. I then would put on my calendar the date and time I told him I would get back to him with answers. He was impressed when I called back with all the details for which he was looking.
 
Although I didn’t get the sale on the 1031 exchange, the prospect said he wanted to invest $400,000 with me because he liked and appreciated my professionalism. A foot in the door, all because of good notes. You may be thinking you have no time to learn a new CRM software program, but you never know what type of client a CRM system may lead you to.
 
There are several different types of CRM systems available to financial professionals. Many advisors seem to be gravitating toward a system called Redtail Technology. Another useful CRM to check out is ACT for Financial Advisors.
 
It continues with presentation software
 
Presentation software allows you to illustrate and visually share your ideas with clients. A simple presentation software such as RedBlueGreen Concepts (RBG) can build illustrations in 15-20 minutes.  The ease of an RBG-illustrated plan helps clients make educated and informed decisions. Another great thing about RBG is that there is a model for securities-licensed professionals, as well as life-only advisors. RBG is designed to make sure your client has the right amount of money diversified, in regard to risk tolerance, suitability and Department of Labor fiduciary rule requirements. Many advisors find that clients tend to be overweighted in higher-risk investments (stocks, bonds and mutual funds).
 
I use RBG in my office even though I am signed up with several other presentation software programs. Prior to using RBG, I would find that prospects truly didn’t understand the level of risk they carried. I noticed that clients preferred the simple six-page client presentation that RBG offers, rather than the 25-50 pages that can overwhelm a client. Using RBG helps present both a pictured scenario and a numerical scenario, so all parties involved understand what is best for them.
 
Since utilizing RBG, I have seen my annuity sales grow substantially. With this program, I have doubled, and in some cases tripled, the conservative investments clients showed an interest in, which would result in a more balanced and possibly safer approach to their futures. 
 
Some other presentation software programs include MoneyGuidePro and eMoney Advisor. These programs develop comprehensive plans that present a much larger presentation to the client. While a larger presentation may be better for one client, a simple presentation may be best for another. Therefore, it is important that you understand your clients and their needs before choosing which software program to use. 
 
It ends with a communication/marketing program
 
Another form of technology that is critical to your practice’s success is an effective communications/marketing program. My favorite is Infusionsoft. It allows my firm to communicate with both prospects and clients. Preset emails can be set up and automatically delivered to welcome clients to the firm, remind them about upcoming appointments, inform them of products or invite them to a seminar. This list goes on and on.
 
Because of Infusionsoft, I obtained a client who had millions of dollars to invest. I conducted a client event that focused on tax savings. A local CPA spoke and I did my own presentation as well. One attendee was on our “drip” list of people who attended one of our introductory workshops, but never came in for an appointment. Thanks to Infusionsoft, he automatically got an invitation and he attended the saving-on-taxes event. 
After this event, he decided to schedule an appointment and he eventually moved millions of dollars to my firm. I know this never would have happened if not for Infusionsoft, because we would not have had the time to invite past workshop attendees.
 
Make time for technology
 
Most people in the financial services industry believe they are too busy doing things that are urgent. As a result, they miss the opportunity to do the important things that could take them to the next level. Don’t let this happen to you.
 
Block some time in your calendar each week to investigate all the technology options available to you. Then narrow it down to the top three. Finally, choose one that you want to begin using and book two hours per week to dive into learning the program you have chosen. 
 
You may invest upward of 104 hours during the first year of learning your chosen technology. But it’s important to remember that the right technology could change your business, your life and even your family. Whether it is a CRM, presentation software or communication/marketing program, your time will be well invested. Even more significant: You could double or triple your income as a result. 

Curt Whipple, CWS, CEP, is founder of C. Curtis Financial Group in Plymouth, Mich. Curt may be contacted at curt.whipple@innfeedback.com. .