The ultimate defense against discount stockbrokers, on-line insurance and the Internet
It’s time for a wake up call or your business will be swallowed by entities with more money than you who know how to use technology to take your business. If you manage money or sell investments, there are already many sophisticated tools on the Web that can replace your advice. If you sell insurance, anyone can get term insurance on the web in about 10 minutes and they do not need you.
Sorry if you are affronted, but I want to help you protect your business and that means facing the truth.
If you think, “Well I’ll just offer term insurance on the web too,” realize that there are thousands of agents on the web who already do this. There’s no reason to come to your site as this product has been made into a commodity. If you think, “I will offer stock advice on my site,” join the other thousands of sites that can do this better than you. In the long run, the Internet is not your friend.
The solution to this is to make sure you are NOT doing the same thing as everyone else. You can differentiate any commodity and carve out a protected niche.
This may require that you learn something new. For example, I cannot find advice on the web about where to find high yielding, yet safe preferred stocks. That’s a specialty. To become such an expert, means you need an education in that arena. How many sites are called “Term Insurance for Physicians?” That can be made into a specialty and requires that you really understand the needs of physicians and how they differ form others.
The public is getting smarter all the time. Ten years ago you could exist as a financial planning generalist. As people get smarter they will realize they can fill out some forms on the web and get the same financial plan you handed them. As they get more sophisticated , so must you. Financial advisors must be one step ahead of the prospect, or you’ve got nothing of value to offer.
Please do not ignore the threat of commoditization of financial planning. It’s happening slowly. Schwab and Fidelity are offering your clients planning services. These efforts will expand. Insurance companies are turning their captive agents into financial planners. And as mentioned, web sites already provide financial planning to your clients.
The good news is that the process of the public learning how to be their own planner is a slow one. There’s also a segment of the public, the affluent, that has more complex problems that they will always need a professional (which requires that you understand and have solutions for those problems). Additionally, seniors have not adopted the web as quickly and remain a viable market for personal service and like the attention of a human. Last, there are certain personality types (a ripe area for you to study) that will always be more responsive to getting assistance than doing it themselves. Targeting these people is wise.
What should you do.
Pick a specialty. Some arena of your work that fascinates you or you see as a lucrative growing area. Become an expert. You do this by studying everything you can find and learning from any experts that already exist. You may need to subscribe to new publications and attend specific seminars or workshops. It’s an investment of your time and money. (The key to success in any business in this century is being a self-teacher). You will also need a marketing system to communicate your expertise to the target market that value’s it. The benefit to you will be a business that has staying power.
Some examples of specialization:
- Specialist in preferred stock
- Specialist in stocks of (name an industry)
- Specialist in working with (name a profession or segment of the population)
- Specialist in tax reduction
- Stock options specialist
- 401k specialist
- Specialist in insuring sub-standard cases
Pick a niche and protect yourself.
Larry Klein is a CPA, Certified Retirement Financial Advisor™, Registered Investment Advisor and he holds an MBA from Harvard Business School. Over 5000 financial professionals use his marketing system to obtain more and better clients, increase money under management, increase commissions and earn more while working less. His programs are in use by brokers at most major securities firm, many NASD firms, and by hundreds of independent insurance agents and captive agents with large, well-known insurance companies. Details on his winning marketing systems and his complete book on Marketing Financi al Services to Seniors are available .