[Editor’s note: This story was previously published in February 2018. It has since been updated and republished.]
Now is a good time to be a financial advisor, and having the right technology at your disposal is one of the keys to success.
The number of financial advisors in the U.S. has been falling yearly from its 2008 peak, as industry veterans retire. At the same time, wealth transfer has been creating an increasing number of millionaires in the Generation X and Generation Y populations. And they want your services.
According to CNBC, 62% of those Gen X millionaires would like their financial advisor to provide more services, and they’re willing to pay for it. In comparison only 25% of Baby Boomers are interested in additional services.
The catch? 53% of the Gen X millionaires say they would ditch their financial advisor if they weren’t using technology to enhance their services.
To help you stay ahead of the curve and take advantage of the opportunities, here are five must-have tech tools for financial advisors.
5 Must-Have Tech Tools for Financial Advisors: Website
We’re going to go out on a limb here and assume that you already have financial planning software. That’s pretty much a given for a financial advisor. But do you have a website?
And by a website, that doesn’t mean a static page with your logo, office hours and contact info. Include aspects that will draw in visitors, with fresh and relevant content, like a blog. A professional, well-designed website helps to increase visibility 24/7, makes a great first impression and can help to position you as an expert. Hire a professional, or take a crack at it yourself with tools like Duda or Weebly.
And while you’re at it, make use of tools like Google Analytics to see how many visitors your website received, which pages they hit and where they came from. Doing so could help you to increase traffic, and more visitors means more potential clients.
5 Must-Have Tech Tools for Financial Advisors: CRM
Every professional who deals directly with customers on a regular basis needs good CRM (Client Relationship Management) software, and a financial advisor is no different.
A good CRM does much more than store your client’s contact info.
You can begin to build a file on your client, filled with relevant dates. It can generate reminders that tell you when you should reach out to contact them. It can record the details of your last meeting or phone call with the client. It can also track performance. You want access from your smartphone, in case you need to contact a client when you’re away from the office.
In short, a CRM is far more than a computerized Rolodex, it’s an invaluable high-tech tool.
There are many CRMs to choose from, some that you buy outright, and some with a yearly licence. Popular options include Salesforce, ZOHO and Insightly. Most offer a free trial, or at least a web-based tutorial so you can check out the interface and capabilities to make sure it suits your needs.
5 Must-Have Tech Tools for Financial Advisors: Virtual Meeting Support
One of the most important tech tools for a financial advisor — especially one with clients in a younger demographic — is the ability to accommodate virtual meetings.
Baby Boomers are accustomed to coming into your office for a meeting. But with younger generations, taking time out to drive across town and sit down in an office is less popular.
Many companies have been using video conferencing tools for virtual meetings between offices for decades now. The technology is pretty much taken for granted at this point and has trickled down to the personal level. So make sure that you have a computer or mobile device equipped with a good camera, a place to hold virtual meeting (you don’t want a table littered with dirty coffee cups in the background) and accounts with popular video conferencing software.
Microsoft Corporation’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) Skype is the big name in video conferencing. Webex is a popular choice if you want to be able to share your screen with a remote client, so they can follow along with information displayed on your computer.
5 Must-Have Tech Tools for Financial Advisors: Social Media Management Tools
Whatever you might think of social media, the reality is it’s not going anywhere. And it’s become a valuable marketing tool, as well as a way to interact with clients and potential clients.
As a financial advisor, you’ll want to have a social media presence.
But to prevent social media from becoming a time drain and to get the most out of your accounts, you should also consider social media management tools. Popular options like Buffer and Hootsuite let you manage all your social media accounts from one interface. You can use these tools to schedule posts (so you remain active with fresh content even when you’re busy).
You can also analyze the performance of your posts so you can see what topics and channels have the greatest payoff.
5 Must-Have Tech Tools for Financial Advisors: Professional Tablet
With the emphasis on financial advisors being plugged-in and tech-savvy, the last thing you want a client to see is an aging beige PC sitting in your office. The latest generation of professional tablets is ideal for professionals like financial advisors.
A powerful tablet like Apple Inc.’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad Pro or Microsoft’s Surface Pro are high performance computers in their own right. Add a keyboard case and they can replace a laptop. They’re equipped with cameras for those virtual meetings and capable of running pretty much any software you might need — especially the Surface Pro, that comes with Windows 10 Pro. They are even offered with optional LTE connectivity.
Using a tablet shows clients that you are on top of current tech trends. The big display that can be handed over to someone sitting across from you makes an ideal presentation tool. It’s also far lighter than a laptop if you visit a client at their home and with LTE, you have full online connectivity without having to ask for their Wi-Fi password…
There’s a lot of technology out there and this isn’t a comprehensive list of everything a financial planner needs. But these five must-haves are a great starting point for taking full advantage of current industry trends.
As of this writing, Brad Moon did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.