Health care is being re-defined.
Massive innovation, collaboration, education, distribution, awareness, exhaustion.
Bravery continuing to serve the best health interests of patients, co-workers, community, and own family members while risking their own health.
They are caring like never before.
So must today’s advisers.
In some ways obvious, in others less so.
Advising like we have never advised before means connecting without ‘being there’ in person.
The video conferencing boom is clear with the founder of Zoom becoming an estimated $4b richer since the Coronavirus pandemic.
Connecting, however, means different things to different advisers.
For some, connecting means exchanging information.
At present, the financial product companies are providing regular updates on investment markets, as is the accounting industry regarding government assistant packages, while news services are racing each other to announce the latest virus updates.
My phone is getting better at updates too.
For others, connecting means changing perceptions.
The movie industry and advertisers have been connecting with us for years without ‘being there’ – check out this Mother’s Day Olympic advert from Proctor & Gamble (sorry – ads included).
People most influential to our lives, have that position probably because they changed our perceptions of our worlds. Changing perceptions usually has a deeper impact on us than just exchanging information.
For when we change our perceptions, something happens to us.
We stop shopping with plastic bags, we start social distancing, we start exercising, we eat better quality food, we stop smoking, we quit jobs we hate, we chase a hope and maybe we worry less. Basically once influenced, we change our perceptions and we change, even if only a bit.
How, as advisers, do we influence perceptions, not just exchange information while remote?
We make less assumptions.
Advising like we have never advised before means making fewer assumptions.
Particularly in these times.
Fewer assumptions about what exactly?
Back around 380BC Plato wrote – “The cure of a part should not be attempted without treatment of the whole”. Plato might have been warning us to ensure that we as advisers, are advising best when we are advising based upon the causes in our client’s lives, not just the symptoms.
Combining Plato and Atul Gawande’s best-selling Checklist Manifesto, the danger of our assumptions might come down to one word – discipline, specifically the discipline to be the best we possibly can be. The thesis of Gawande’s popular book is imposing disciplines via good checklists.
Without Gawande’s good checklists for us in these times, our greatest strengths as advisers – wanting to help our clients – might easily become our greatest weaknesses – we assume we know what our client’s value.
Though remote, our world as advisers is currently armpit deep in the latest updates from our product alliances, the latest Covid-19 headlines, the latest government statistics and stimulus packages, our notes from recently acquired FASEA credentials, and latest tips to help us understand how to use packages like Zoom’s.
Starting your next remote client conversation by suggesting your preferred approach when their lifestyles are upside-down, is a focus on what is of value to them, might appear a tad unusual for most clients, particularly your existing ones.
It’s not just unusual.
Advising like we’ve never advised before means we may need to be braver in our advisory roles and conversations.
It’s brave to use this crisis as the opportunity to innovate in how we engage clients. Particularly when our motivations are nothing other than to better serve their best interests.
It’s brave to use innovative conversations to check and potentially change client’s perceptions regarding today’s circumstances and what are the best options, choices, paths now available for them.
It’s brave to use innovative conversations to potentially understand what now is fundamental in their lives that might require some changes in plans, use of money or new advice approach.
It’s brave to use innovative conversations to potentially re-understand the significance of the things or outcomes in their lives that may require any advice, or money or planning.
It brave to use innovative conversations to clarify their real or perceived complexities that will or may affect their financial lives or the financial lives of anyone else special to them.
These brave conversations may help clients better cope as everyone’s world experiences an unprecedented collapse of Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs – those unique layers of what motivates and drives us all to achieve more. As Maslow predicted it’s hard to get excited about long term retirement plans when we might be struggling to pay current bills or obtain needed supplies.
It’s also quite possible your brave client conversations may uncover nothing new at all.
But it is quite probable, they will renew the perception your clients have of their circumstances, and of your firm.
Your client conversations don’t promise silver bullets.
But they do promise greater awareness and clearer perceptions by your clients and your firm of the role you provide – that you will do whatever is required to serve their best interests, to deliver what is of value to them.
Like the brave health workers, advisers have to work like we’ve never worked before.
Don’t waste the innovative conversations in these times.
It’s the making of the future great brands of advice.
What do you reckon?
ABOUT JIM STACKPOOL
For over 30 years Jim has influenced, coached, and consulted to accounting & financial advisory firms across Australia. His firm, Certainty Advice Group specialises in growing professional advice firms offering comprehensive unconflicted advice. He has created Australia’s highest and only ACCC/IP Australia Certification Mark standard of comprehensive advice – Certainty Advice. He is also an author, blogger, and keynote speaker.