For decades, the financial services industry has encouraged the one-man-band model of delivering advice to clients. But the days of a single advisor coordinating all the personal financial affairs for individuals and families are over. As the financial advisory “team approach” has emerged, affluent clients have shown their preference to that model. For good reason, as it only makes sense that while the affluent are seeking ever more comprehensive financial services, the days of the “one-man-band financial advisor” have become numbered.
Truth be known, affluent Ideal Clients have never been comfortable with the one-man-band approach to financial services. The idea that a single individual could be worthy of “expert status” in all areas of personal finance is ludicrous, and the affluent have felt this way for a long time.
The term “expert” is overused and unclear. What is an expert anyway? Nils Bohr, the famous physicist, once defined an expert as a person who has read every book and made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field.
In his book, Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell defines an expert as a person who has devoted more than 10,000 hours to a specific subject. That’s 250 40-hour work weeks, or about five years, working in a narrow field.
In comprehensive financial services, we’re dealing with at least five narrow fields of personal finance:
- Money Management
- Tax Planning
- Estate Planning
- Insurance Planning
- Financial Planning
By Gladwell’s definition, it would take at least 25 years for a one-man-band financial advisor to become an “expert” in all five fields and would take much longer using Niels Bohr’s definition.
What highly successful comprehensive financial advisors understand is that, with subject matter experts literally all over the place, why not build a team of people who are experts in narrow fields of personal finance? By inviting subject matter experts onto the Deliverables Team, expertise is immediately in place. In less than 60 days, any financial advisor can identify and acquire enough expertise to begin providing comprehensive financial services.
As the number of affluent clients is growing dramatically, and with the lifestyle pace of today, your potential ideal clients are seeking advisors who will perform more services and keep everything on-track financially for them. Clients today value an advisor who is “on top of everything, all the time,” is highly proactive, and is willing to coordinate literally everything financial. Unlike the past, clients no longer just want pieces and parts managed, such as tax preparation without financial planning, or estate planning without money management, etc.
The gap between what affluent clients want, and what financial advisors are willing to deliver, has become wide. As with any service gap in the marketplace, this creates a massive opportunity for financial advisors who are paying attention. Increasingly, the service model which affluent clients are choosing above all others is a skilled and experienced Deliverables Team of subject matter experts led by a single “Most Trusted Advisor” who orchestrates all areas of personal finance.
Change is uncomfortable for financial advisors, and the financial services industry has not trained advisors to be glorified “financial organizers.” But as with most enormous opportunities, an increasing number of financial advisors are latching on to the reality that more and more, the affluent are demanding this team approach for their comprehensive financial services. Successful people know that the key to success in any business is talented people led by an able leader. This model is as intuitively appealing as the one-man-band concept was intuitively risky. The fact that potential ideal clients are willing to pay tens of thousands of dollars per year for this service model is compelling, as well.
So as you assess your business model options going forward, consider that there’s a premium being paid to advisors who are not “the smartest guy in the room.” Advisors who are willing to provide comprehensive financial services through a talented team are in demand. By delegating everything except the client experience, you’re in position, like never before, to provide a complete and comprehensive financial services experience to your Ideal Client Community, to offer services which many potential ideal clients don’t even think are available anywhere, at any price. Imagine being the only financial advisor in your community fully delivering upon what affluent clients desire most, simply by building an experienced team of subject matter experts and insisting that they effectively coordinate with each other.