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Hybrid planning can transform your business

Ben Goss

Ben Goss

It moves planning from a nice once-and-done add-on, to the centre of the relationship and an ‘always on’ value proposition. It is the reason for obtaining data from clients and the vehicle by which the company adds value and charges fees.

Because it is based on what is important to the client, it is fostering deeper relationships too.

Such an approach based on shorter, sharper multi-channel interactions makes the most of both client and adviser time and increases access to advice and business productivity.

Video interactions also enable companies to make better use of paraplanning and non-authorised expert team members in the office who can be involved not just in plan creation, but in discussing its non-regulated aspects with all the career opportunities this brings.

It is enabling businesses to become more productive and to scale if that is their strategy.

Hybrid challenges

When I talk to companies who are putting a hybrid planning experience in place they often talk about two key challenges to be overcome.

First is adviser behaviour. The use of planning technology with a client as opposed to the presentation of a pre-prepared report is without doubt a significant change in behaviour for most advisers.

In the same way that those of us who went to school before computers were commonplace used to write out reports long hand before typing them up, the use of technology with a client takes some getting used to.

It is not always appropriate for all stages of the process, truly understanding and empathising with a client’s situation for example, but when it comes to illustrating the client’s position and demonstrating different potential strategies it is incredibly powerful.

A picture is worth a thousand words, and a dynamic picture you can co-create and look at ‘what ifs’ with is worth even more. So, how do companies overcome this?

Training and preparation: building the plan beforehand, working through some 'what ifs' and getting comfortable with the data and the analysis before a client meeting, as you would with a written report, helps build confidence.

Some advisers are concerned that using technology with clients will make what they do look too simple or take away from the perception of their expertise.

However, feedback from planners who have embraced this mode of working demonstrates the opposite. The increased engagement gained from a client only adds to trust in the relationship.

The second challenge to overcome is trusting the data.

A plan is only as good as the data that goes into it, of course, and concern around its accuracy is often cited as an impediment. Ensuring valuations are up to date and your planning system is integrated with your practice management and/or platforms to get accurate valuations is a key first step to planning in the hybrid world.