Nothing beats a little face time. Not Skype. Not webinars. Not even FaceTime®! Despite the seemingly endless stream of information sources, no business communication device compares to people sitting next to each other discussing a topic. In the old days, we called that a meeting.
Fortunately, Financial Advisors still prefer face-to-face for many client meetings, and the really wise ones take full advantage of the booming industry Conference schedule. Of course, most of the leading custodians offer a full blown conference, some with thousands of attendees and dozens of exhibitors. There are also regional associations to complement a wide range of national association conferences led by NAPFA and FPA. There are also the smaller specialty conferences like T3, and the one we have been most impressed with … Insider’s Forum by Bob Veres (http://www.insidersforum.com/)
You really owe it to yourself, your clients, and your staff to invest some time in attending conferences. Your reward comes in the form of personal interaction with those most committed to improving the industry. This group includes speakers, vendors, custodians, technology firms, and yes … other Financial Advisors.
Another idea we have seen prove beneficial, is to reward your operations team and client service representatives with a trip to a conference. Many of these events have alternative tracks for sessions based on job responsibility. Firms also benefit from the “divide and conquer” approach. If three people from one firm attend a conference, they will each come back with new connections, new ideas and new information. This is how some firms stay on top of industry trends and continue to improve every year … plus the conferences offer the opportunity for improved knowledge and personal growth.
Being a technology provider, much of our time at conferences is spent listening to the frustrations voiced by Advisors and staff, as they search for help in correcting poor and uninformed decisions made in the past. The endless stream of internet information often leads to bad information. For instance, we have heard rumors such as “Salesforce projects always cost more than $100,000”. This is something we find laughable, since all of our XLR8 projects include Salesforce, with only a very few full projects ever hitting $10k, much less $100k!. It takes nothing more than a Twitter account or a writer with an agenda to spread a false rumor. At a conference, you can meet face-to-face with those who can provide full, accurate information … the kind that allows you to run a better business.
By David Ferguson, Concenter Services