Are you a new economy advisor or an old economy one?
Your answer matters, because the future belongs to the new economy advisor, said Bill Bishop, CEO at The Big Idea Company in Toronto, who spoke Thursday at the spring summit of the Independent Financial Brokers of Canada (IFBC).
Advisors of the old economy identify with the industry and the products and services they provide, Bishop said, essentially pigeonholing themselves. In contrast, new economy advisors focus on clients and their needs.
An example of a business in the new economy is Uber, which expanded to pick up not only people but their lunches, too. “Over the next decade, everyone will be building their business like it’s Apple or Amazon or Uber,” Bishop said. “If you don’t, you won’t be in business.”
To help you transform into a new economy advisor, here’s Bishop’s five-step game plan:
- Decide whom you want to help. Instead of specializing in products, specialize in a client type of your choosing, Bishop said. Your niche client could be construction company owners or forward-thinkers, he said, “and the idea is to do anything you can to help them.”
- Add a big idea to your value proposition. Bishop said that when he asks advisors about their jobs, they often have generic answers. He suggested they instead be ready with irresistible, client-focused offers, as is an advisor who offers to help business owners sell their companies for more than they expected. The effect: instant client engagement.
- Offer free starter sessions. Advisors may already spend a lot of time with new clients upfront, so Bishop suggested they officially create and package a starter session. That way, advisors offer something valuable for free early on, and, at the same time, can create a sense of exclusivity by, for example, asking clients to first answer questions to assess if they fit the advisor’s niche client profile.
- Offer two clear choices. This step is “transformative” for your business, Bishop said. Create a special program — with an enticing name — and let clients choose to be program members or basic clients, with the former receiving more value for membership fees. Program members could be further tiered with associated pricing.
- Build a value hub around members. Start with professional referrals and, as the business grows, include services beyond the industry.
Bishop also noted the importance of marketing materials, saying, “There’s no bigger crime in the new economy than being boring.”
What wasn’t boring were the examples he gave of real Canadian and U.S. advisors who have implemented their big ideas and programs, enticing clients with everything from physical fitness to the creation and completion of bucket lists.
For those who may be skeptical of doing business in a new way, consider that younger generations in particular value experiences. A 2014 survey by Eventbrite of American millennials found that they highly value — and are increasingly spending money on — experiences.
Nobody wakes up in the morning wanting to buy insurance, Bishop said.