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October 15, 2019

Agile Learning Gives Wholesalers and Advisors “Something to Talk About”

Bonnie Raitt once sang, “Let’s give them something to talk about.”

This is the dilemma that most client-facing personnel face when walking into a meeting with either a current or prospective client. In order to remain relevant and conduct engaging conversations (and more importantly to be invited back again) you need to have a fresh perspective or an insight that gets your intended audience’s attention.  The products are ‘table stakes’: every one of your competitors has them and the space can somewhat feel commoditized. What separates you is that often bandied-about term ‘intellectual capital,’ or better said, ‘relationship alpha.’  This is where agile content and just-in-time insights comes into play to separate you from your competitors.

On any given day, whenever you walk into a client’s office they are wrestling with information overload. News stories they’ve heard, blogs they’ve read, headlines screaming out to them or day-to-day watercooler talk—there is always a topic of the day or a theme rolling through that quarter (think: new tariffs, Big Tech (FAANG) being regulated or broken up, “Inverted Yield Curve,” etc.).

These tidbits of information from various sources—already shared generously for any and all to consume—are ubiquitous and unfortunately can become a source of confusion, consternation and concern.  In the past, the sole source of financial information was the so-called Financial Press or the evening news. Today there is a torrent of information. Information is cheap, everyone has access to it, and anyone can join the cacophony.

The manner in which someone consumes this information may lead to the forming of knowledge; however, for the knowledge to be interesting and useful—and thus transformative into a currency of value—one must be able to color this information and knowledge with experience, which can then develop into wisdom.

This is what advisors struggle with when swimming in the swirling current of information.  Whether they articulate it or not, they need something they can talk intelligently about with their clients or prospects.  They need an informed ‘point of view.’ Believe me, whether said aloud or not, the ‘daily swirl’ is certainly on their mind and they may want you and your firm’s thoughts on the matter.  “What is this? And, why should I care? What does it mean to me or my clients?”

Now Imagine that your Chief Strategist, Economist or – feel free to intone a bad Boston accent here — “Wicked Smaht” Portfolio Manager put together a conversational and pithy video using a sales learning and readiness platform.  The video tackles the issue of the day or the theme of the quarter and gives you talking points to address the subject, as well as a possible direction to take given the various potential outcomes.  By viewing this video, you now stand on the shoulders of others with knowledge, and the subsequent experience can now develop into wisdom. You and your firm don’t necessarily have to be ‘spot on’ on the topic, but you do have to have an informed opinion.  This video would embolden you to have that conversation and to move beyond the mobs stuck in the informational swirl and into the quiet pools of knowledge, experience and wisdom. Even if the advisor doesn’t bring it up, you can poke the elephant in the room: “What have your clients been asking you about Tariffs? Have they expressed concern over the Inverted Yield Curve?”

The currency that allows you to move beyond darkening your clients’ door to becoming an invited guest to the discussion is not information: it’s knowledge and a point-of-view from experience (which ultimately, may turn out to be wisdom).  Making the leap from the former (information) to the latter (potential wisdom) is facilitated through fast, informal learning, and there’s no better medium than a series of short vignette videos delivered to wholesalers ‘just in time’ from your organization’s experienced subject matter experts.  It would be like having a morning coffee with your Chief Strategist, Economist or Portfolio Manager and picking their brain on the salient topics of the day.

Imagine that your wholesalers could have a catalogue of topical soundbites in the form of short, engaging videos created by internal experts, themselves—videos about #Tariffs, #BigTech, #yieldcurve that could be updated as the situation evolves.  Providing access to this would allow your people to easily educate themselves and rehearse the responses on their own time in order to walk in with a thought process and ‘point of view’ that’s relevant and timely. Doing this would give them credence at the point of sale and thus make them relevant and in demand.  Now that’s “giving them something to talk about”!

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