Hi everyone and thanks for reading my first post. I’ve read a fair few articles on here in the past and given my recent quandary on the following topic I thought this would be a good time to join The Lounge and ask for your opinion.
So here’s quandary!
As a Wealth Account Manager/BDM/Consultant/Account Manager or whatever you like to call us, I see the objective of my role to be “To build partnerships with my panel of advisers for the benefit of both parties”. But, the big challenge is that there are lots of us BDM’s out there all trying to do the same thing. So my first thought a few years ago when I first became a BDM was “How do I differentiate myself from the rest?” To do that, I thought the best way to differentiate myself was simply to do it differently from the rest! So, I pride myself on helping my firms with regulatory issues and developments rather than the usual product bashing and also by trying to help my advisers innovate what they do and how they deliver their on-going service offerings.
A couple of years ago I changed things! In my world at least. I started to use a system called WebEx with my advisers. This system allowed me to break the usual difficulties of being telephone based so that I could now share screens and presentations with my advisers as well as help them with navigation queries of our Platform. By no coincident, those advisers I used WebEx with, I now also have the strongest relationships with. Despite my colleagues instant disapproval of this new fangled idea and especially as it was pitched by the newest member of the team, they saw the impact of this medium and started doing the same. Hooray for me right!? But the thing is it led me to thinking about the numerous conversations I had to have in my early days about “Why have I now got a telephone based BDM and not a F2F one?” You all remember those days right!? I was insulted by this at first – Was I not good enough for you? – But then I realised that it’s about the relationship you have with someone once you’ve seen the white of their eyes. Having come from a F2F role in another industry I know what that means. So as a telephone based BDM how do I break through this barrier?
Skype!!! That’s how! There I was one evening talking to my sister and family in Australia via Skype when the proverbial bulb went off “Why can’t this work with my advisers”. After pitching this to my gaffer, he agreed it was a great idea! So we thought, sod the red tape, let’s just go buy a webcam, download Skype and give it a whirl.
I ignored the noise from my colleagues about how, once more, I was being ridiculous and how it’ll never work and started speaking about it with my advisers. I talked about not only how it can enhance our relationship by allowing us to share screens and talk FACE TO FACE but also they could use it for mid-market clients as a means to deliver annual reviews as part of their on-going service. Think about it, an adviser could conduct 4-5 reviews in a single day via Skype as suddenly the travel time has just disappeared! How much time does that free up for you? Seriously, think about it! And the best bit is it’s FREE! Even for businesses!
I was greeted with lots of, “that’s a good idea”, “let me think about that some more” but most commonly “Great idea but we can’t do it as we don’t have the equipment!” – AAAARRRRRGGHHHHHHHH!!!!! It’s a webcam and a headset! £40 for the lot on PC World!!! (and PC World are not cheap) 40 quid! You could make that money back in fuel saving in just one or two appointments! Plus most modern laptops have it all built in! Anyway, in the end, I have two Skype relationship and they really are great relationships.
But here’s my question, why not more?
Are advisers more resistant to technology than I thought? It can’t be anymore difficult to load Skype, select me and hit dial than it is to look up my number and enter the digits into the telephone, is it? Is it a personal barrier to being “on camera”? Is this a ridiculous idea? Am I using the wrong tech? After all, Skype doesn’t have the greatest of picture at times or is it that I am just a bit ahead of the curve.
I launched a survey via Survey Monkey last year to get some feedback from my advisers but got the usual small response as these things tend to so it didn’t give me any further insight.
Lots of this technology exists in our personal lives, as I said I use Skype with my family dotted around the world, every piece of newish Apple tech has FaceTime and there are different/newer versions of Skype out there. So why aren’t we using this type of technology to communicate better with each other in our profession and why aren’t you using it with Clients?
Please do leave me your thoughts as I am left perplexed!
(All views are my own)