Imagine walking into a doctor’s office with a bad cough and walking out on crutches, still coughing. That’s how Brent Brodeski saw the financial advisory client experience in 1992 when he co-founded Savant Capital Management in Rockford, IL.
“It was kind of like going to the general practitioner, you get a checkup, and he wrote prescriptions and sent people on their way,” said Brent. “And people take that prescription and imagine the pharmacist saying, ‘No, I’m going to sell you this wonder drug instead. It’s more expensive and doesn’t really make you better.’ That was the problem, the clients had a prescription for one thing and they often were getting something else.”
Here are three lessons Brent learned from diagnosing his clients’ problems and devising the best cures for their finances on his way to expanding Savant to nearly $5 billion in assets under management and 13 offices throughout the Midwest:
1. Hire top talent, but the team comes first.
Brent and his partners studied what was successful about the Mayo Clinic and concluded that, while their ability to recruit top talent was a big advantage, the way that talent interacted and worked together as a team was just as important. No one doctor — or financial advisor — is bigger than the process of delivering the best possible client experience.
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2. Boost client experience with information they can’t get anywhere else.
No one goes to the doctor to check their temperature – that’s why we have thermometers in our medicine cabinets.
Likewise, today’s financial advisors have to offer their clients more than the financial statements and projections they’re used to receiving online, for free.
A more modern approach integrates basic financial information with a client’s broader financial picture, including estate planning, philanthropy, taxes, insurance, and an understanding of the client’s personal hopes for the future — all things a robo-advisor can’t deliver with a mouse click.
3. “We can rebuild … We have the technology …”
Like every other business, financial advisory firms face disruption from technology. But a “bionic advisor” with the right technology in his or her toolkit can provide clients with the instant information they’re used to receiving online, while also freeing up time for more productive meetings and personal consultation. A computer can’t break down a client’s dream Florida retirement house into a spreadsheet, and it can’t tell a client how to get from here to there over the course of decades. People who take an active role in their finances will always look to good financial advisors for the best, most personal client experiences.
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