The COVID-19 lockdown is something that none of us has ever experienced in our lifetime. The entire nation, nay the entire world came to a standstill, people were locked inside their houses and businesses went into a temporary halt. Subsequently, the stock markets quickly responded to this situation and took a nosedive in March. Many investors lost a large sum of money in this sudden down move of the market. Three major reasons for this are:
- Lack of experience in a Bear Market
- Buy at Greed and Sell at Fear
- No proper Financial Guidance and Advice
On the other hand, this lockdown also saw a huge number of millennials starting up their investment game for the first time in their life, as they suddenly have money leftovers sitting in their account since spending had widely reduced.
This blog will cover how as an Independent Financial Advisor, you can resume and up your game of Financial Advisory post the lockdown, as things start to settle down and people have started accepting ‘The New Normal’
1. Go Digital
This is the major point and I can’t stress this enough. According to a report, the average screen time of adults across India is 3 hours and 30 minutes. This means that not only the millennials, even older people who are 35+, spend an average of 30% of their entire day on the Digital medium. This is increasing day by day. So, as a Financial Advisor who is relatable to the next generation, you need to be on Digital Media and take new steps, like starting out a blog to give out tips and tricks about the markets, going on YouTube to teach people the basics of investing and Finance. Basically, provide top-notch value for free on Digital fronts so that customers can recognize this value, and come back for more from you, build your personal brand recall value. You can up your game, by also use the resources available on the public domain. Gather data, do some in-depth research, be in the know about what’s happening in the Indian Capital Markets. This also enables you to stay relevant in the current times and to cater to the new-age investors who are eager to make informed decisions based on facts rather than blindly follow what someone says. That’s how you become the IFA of the next generation.
2. Be Transparent
Let’s look at facts. Today a lot of new startups have started sprouting up in the Direct Mutual Fund Space. To be honest, it’s hard to compete with these giants who have huge investor money to spend on ads and educate people on the benefits of going the ‘Direct’ route. Although what many investors fail to recognize is the importance of a Financial Advisor who can basically hold your hand and stop you from making those grave buy/sell investment decisions. So, you have to educate your investors on what you bring to the table and be as transparent as you can with your fees and the commission you get as a distributor from the Asset Management Companies (AMCs) so that the investor can place his 100% trust on you.
3. What’s Your USP?
“The riches are in the Niches”. The goal is to identify what you can do best and do it at full force. Whether it is Retirement Planning or Goal-oriented investments or whatever it maybe if you excel at something and you’ve constantly generated capital in the past to your investors you’ve got to focus on that and showcase that skill as your Unique Selling Property (USP). This gives you a better edge over the others in that category and you can establish your absolute dominance in that space.
4. Testimonials/Reviews from Your Clients
Every one of us needs Social Proof. At the end of the day, however flashy your product/service is, to get people to trust in you, you need to have Social Proof. It’s more of a psychological phenomenon. Try to get Testimonials, Reviews and Case Studies of your top clients and display that on your website so that the trust factor goes up.
5. Improve Yourself
“When you stop learning you stop growing.” ~ Kenneth Blanchard
Once you reach a state of mind where you believe you know everything, that’s when your journey to the bottom begins. In this fast-paced world, you need to be constantly updating and upgrading yourselves to keep up. Do more online courses, research and analysis on your own or try to keep up with industry-standard research and analysis (Add the FI link here). Become more digitally savvy and try to establish your presence across different mediums and always be hungry to learn more.
Until a few years ago, those who were in this Financial Distribution space were called “Agents”. A few years later to make it sound better they were given the title of “Advisors”. With all the things that are happening around us, it is important to introspect on how to actually upgrade yourselves on becoming Advisors in the true sense and becoming the better version of yourselves. The time has come to change, adapt and improve and those who don’t, are sadly going to be left behind.