Everything has been productized these days – food delivery, office space, rides home. Consider the following:
- By 2030, coworking spaces are expected to represent 30% of offices
- Uber and Lyft generated 65% more rides than taxis did in 2017
- The average person uses a food delivery app three times per month
Productization is clearly the language of the next generation. If you’re not speaking it, then you’re going to have a hard time communicating clearly with pretty much anyone under 35. But don’t quit your job and move to Silicon Valley just yet. While financial advisors who want to reach Generation Y (and Z, and whatever comes after that) can’t just continue with business as usual, it just requires a shift in strategy.
Understanding the Next Generations
Millennials (people born from 1981 to 1996) are now ages 23 to 38 in 2019, and they’ve presented a whole host of challenges to businesses and advisors as the first generation to grow up with the internet. You may already have millennial clients (maybe even a few Gen Z), or have no idea how to reach or communicate with them. Either way, a simple change to the way you do business can help you communicate your value more effectively.
Millennials have had the ability to look at multiple choices for most of their lives. They’re skilled at weighing their options and they like to research to find the right fit for them by reading ratings and reviews. They know there are other options than the number one search result. And they won’t stop until they believe they’ve found the most trustworthy advisor they can afford. In other words, your services are important, but that’s a pretty small piece of the millennial pie.
So, how do you keep up? One word: productize. Isolate one part of your offering and turn it into a standalone service. Here are a few examples:
Planning is an instrumental part of your client experience, and it’s quickly become the biggest selling point for today’s advisor, so why not turn it into a service all its own? You can even make it an optional service available nationwide using virtual meeting software (I’m a big fan of Zoom).
This offering could look different depending on what you want to include, but it’d most likely consist of a couple meetings and then a full financial plan that the client could keep and implement on their own. Just make sure you leave them with your contact info because there’s a very good chance that when they see your plan and realize how much goes into managing their own money, they’ll be more inclined to become a client. There are a couple big upsides here:
- Standalone planning gives you the opportunity as an advisor to decide if an individual is someone you want to work with any further or not.
- After a couple of meetings, it gives the client the transparency they crave, not to mention firsthand experience of how good you are at your job. They’ll get to see for themselves if they want work any further with you.
It’s like a trial period for both the advisor and the client. A win-win.
Social Security Consults
Social Security makes everyone at least a little bit nervous. And, as millennials are getting older, they are starting to worry about Social Security.
Offer one-off consults where you talk them through what they can expect from Social Security and how it should fit into their retirement plan. Offer clarity and peace of mind, and they’ll love you for it. This would probably consist of a one-time, hourlong meeting where you review their financials beforehand and then walk them through a mini-plan centered around Social Security.
Again, it’s a great opportunity for both you and the client to “kick the tires” and see if it’s a good mutual fit. And this one isn’t just for millennials. Plenty of older people who have never worked with an advisor before would welcome the opportunity to get some expert advice without signing up for any ongoing fees.
Just as they’ve started thinking about Social Security, millennials are also beginning to think about wills and trusts. Offering estate reviews as a singular service is another way you could solidify that client relationship and gain a long-term client – possibly multi-generational clientele. That’s the thing about gaining trust and loyalty. The positive impact doesn’t just end with them. All of this can be intimidating, but you just need to take it one step at a time.
7 Steps to Successfully Productize Your Services
Start by looking at all the services you provide that may fall under a single unique marketing point (UMP) and figure out how to carve them out and productize. What could you include in a tax optimization session? Social Security consult?
2. Ask yourself
“Where can I find asset location, tax optimization, Social Security optimization and opportunities?”
3. Make a list of the above information
Create a spreadsheet of all resources and label each according to its UMP.
4. Think about what makes you special
Why are you the one they should go to for this type of service? Rather than your UMP, this step requires you to think about your USP – Unique Selling Proposition, also known as your value prop. You need to communicate how you will leverage your unique strengths, tools, experience and knowledge to enrich their broader wealth picture.
5. Talk it out with your support circle
Run everything you have so far by other people you trust – your partner, advisory council, a client you trust or other advisors in your office. Ask them if they find it to be two things: compelling and true.
6. Send an email blast to your current clients
For example: Hey . I hope this email finds you well. I’m trying something new and would like your support. I’m going to start offering to non-clients as a way to help add value and reach the next generation of investors to help them establish a firm foundation for the future.
I believe this is going to help people with something I already do for you – but for a limited time. I truly believe that if we help people have certainty about their taxes, it will help marriages be stronger and happier, and business be healthier. This has the possibility to have a positive impact on our community – which I care about deeply. If you know any friends or family members that would benefit from my assistance, send them my way.
Thank you so much.
7. Lastly, commit and give it time
There are different ways you could bread-crumb opportunities into your firm, I recommend you start with one and try it over the next six months. It likely won’t be an overnight success, so give it time. Don’t try to cram this in one month or even three months. In that three-month rotation, you’ll have some other pressing need – like prepping for quarter end, billing, etc. – and you’ll either be rushed or end up giving up.
Give it time. Trust the process. Promote it. And allow yourself to be excited. For just a few hundred dollars, you can add tremendous value to people and begin building relationships with a larger pool of qualified individuals than you previously worked with.