In a recent interview with NMPE, financial planner Deborah Kent talked about the biggest challenge facing advisers today - how to make advice more affordable so more people can engage with it.
While there is work being done by Government in lessening red tape and making the process more affordable and scalable for advisers, there needs to be a way right now for people to benefit from the wisdom of advisers, without bearing the cost of more than $3,000.
While super funds are taking some of that advice opportunity for members, it is also important for advisers to keep their pipeline full of people that are needing advice, in preparation for a more affordable advice solution down the track.
Creating an online community of advice conversations is one way to do just that. It can be as simple as writing up some case studies, from clients you are working with, or ones that you have advised in the past. You don’t have to use real names, of course, but just the situation. What was their financial problem? How did you advise them? How long did it take to start seeing a difference?
If this is on your social media or your website, you can start collecting a database of people who are interested in what advice can do for them, and understand more clearly how long advice takes to make a difference, and the value an adviser played in this situation.
These people may do nothing but consume your content, but what you are doing is creating a group of people who are understanding the process of advice more, and will be ready in the coming years to access advice when it becomes more affordable.
There is no doubt in my mind that there will be a new advice process that costs less. The Government realises the urgency and it is the first time we have heard the regulators focusing on reducing red tape and driving the cost down.
How long will this take? I suspect it will not happen as quickly as advisers would like - and then there is the process of bedding down how you give advice in your own practice according to the new rules. So it makes sense to start fostering a community of people now that perhaps in a year or 18 months could actually afford to get your advice.
With social media being so prevalent now, this need not be an expensive exercise. Platforms like Facebook can help build your community and for a small spend promote your stories and business to people in your local area that may be interested.
While it is a marketing strategy, it is also a support mechanism you can give to add value to people around you, before you give advice. This is an important contribution to make, as I have never seen stress levels around money so high.
So start thinking of the best way to write your case studies, and demonstrate clearly the value advice has added to your clients. By doing this you will be starting a new group of potential clients down the track, and giving people valuable food for thought in an uncertain environment.
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