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Successfully Implementing a Tech-Enabled Financial Planning Service Model

It was only a few years ago that colleagues and friends were terrified that the financial advice industry was on its way out the door. Financial planners across the country were grasping at straws to try to “level up” their service model to keep clients and continue to showcase their value in hopes of staying relevant. 

What had advisors feeling anxious?

The dawn of the robo-advisor.

There was an overwhelming sense that robo-advice was going to come into the financial planning profession and take over. Younger demographics loved the simplicity of AI technology assisting with investment decisions and organizing their budget. More and more large firms and brokers were looking to leverage robo-advice services to scale their businesses. It seemed as though the solopreneur or the small-team RIA weren’t going to be able to keep up. 

Now, we know that this anxiety was largely unfounded. People from all age groups and niches continued to prefer the relationship aspect of working one-on-one with a financial planning team. They trusted the human element of financial advice over technology that couldn’t possibly help them weigh their values and goals against the technically “right” financial decision. 

So, what can financial planners expect in the coming years? And how can robo-advice be leveraged to the advantage of RIAs everywhere?

Key Takeaways:

  • Financial planners are leveling up their service model by using technology to their advantage.
  • Using technology at key points in your financial planning practice can create a scalable business model with ease.
  • Robo-advice and other tech tools can help financial planners focus on developing deep and lifelong relationships with their clients – and grow their businesses in a more fulfilling way. 

A New Era of Financial Planning

Financial planners are now seeing a new era of financial advice emerge – tech-enabled services. Advisors no longer have to live in fear of robo-advisors and other technology coming in to “take over” their services. Instead, they can leverage these same tools to build firms that better suit their needs, and the needs of their clients. 

Productized services are something that entrepreneurs of other industries have been pursuing for quite some time. For better or worse, this hasn’t been the case in the financial planning profession until quite recently. Many advisors felt loyal to the traditional way of giving financial advice, and their firms continued to scale without issue. 

In short – why fix something that isn’t broken?

That may have worked…until it didn’t. Now, every “niche” a financial planner might want to pursue expects some level of productized service from firms they work with. They want to know a clear set of fees, and to be able to easily understand what type of recurring services they can expect. Firms that have historically built custom engagements based on a client’s unique needs are now missing a large sector of the population that is accustomed to a different type of service engagement for every type of business they work with. 

So, what should a financial planner or business owner do? 

Creating a Productized Financial Planning Service

There are a few key steps to creating a productized financial planning service:

  1. Outline your processes. This should start with initial prospecting, converting prospects to a sales call, your sales process, onboarding new clients, and servicing ongoing clients. Once you have a clear idea of exactly what steps a new client takes when working with you, you can put systems in place to streamline each process.
  2. Develop workflows and assign tasks. When your processes are ironed out, you’re able to create repeatable workflows that delegate or assign tasks to you or your team members. These workflows help to ensure that every box is checked when working with clients. It’s critical that advisors maintain quality of services, even as they grow. Workflows and repeatable task assignments help you gain an edge over your competition. 
  3. Streamline with technology. Homegrown spreadsheets are not going to allow you to scale. In other words it is time to level up your “TECH STACK”. In today’s world where technology and robo-advice are so prevalent, there’s no reason for an advisor to DIY everything in their firm. In fact, clients expect a level of modernization when working with a financial planner. Easy ways to scale your processes with technology could be implementing a client portal for documents, e-signatures, email marketing for one-to-many client and prospect communications, online scheduling tools, financial planning softwares, a CRM, and more. 

The benefit of setting services up in this way is that your firm becomes incredibly scalable. You’re no longer reinventing the wheel every time you sign a new client. You and your team can take and leverage your extra bandwidth to create content, build deeper client relationships, prospect, or think through new ways you can improve and expand the services you offer. 

The College Aid Pro™ Difference

The modern advisor is looking to attract, acquire and serve more families. Financial planners who have committed to late-stage college planning as a niche understand that solving the family’s number one financial concern of paying for college will lead to a long-term comprehensive planning relationship. We have technology available to help you streamline and scale every level in your unique funnel. Leverage the College Aid Pro™ suite of tools to develop a “business in a box” and give expert college planning advice with confidence and ease in a repeatable and scalable way. 

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