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Rich and Co.

Warning – Fidelity and Advisor Army Coming After Your Clients. All of Them

Fidelity is enabling advisors, nationally, with a proprietary Infinata database.  This is going to be a mess.  See the article on this new sales tactic here.

We don’t really see any benefits coming to anyone from this impulsive escalation and predatory use of new data techniques and tools — but hungry financial services firms and folks are chasing after anything right now.

You just have to strengthen the “castle” of your practice and protect your clients with better defenses.

We used Infinata data when it was just in pilot years ago.  Not only was it unproductive but it was actually harmful.  The core weakness is that Infinata, and all tech solutions, make their money on selling to as many users as possible — getting “scale.”  The value then degrades exponentially and rapidly as more and more brokers are calling the same names.

We’re not saying this is wrong or it can be changed — but that’s our real-world experience back even when just a few of us early adapters were using it! 

The “Piling-On” Effect
Here’s what’s going to happen to your clients, wheather they be HNW, retirement plans or executives:

  • They will be inundated with calls from advisors and brokers
  • Any event will trigger and additional flood of calls and contacts
  • They will be permanently put on a “follow-up” database and system like Sales Force and continually contacted
  • The most aggressive and hungry (young, cheapest and inexperienced) will contact them the most
  • They will feel extremely harassed and that their basic privacy has been invaded — they’re right
  • Fairly or not — your identity and reputation as a “trusted advisor” will be spoiled as well.  It’s basic human psychology.

“Slash and Burn” Selling and “Mutually Assured Destruction” of Your Market
When this data enters your market — everyone will lose.  Your services and role will become commoditized — overnight.  

This is not a conscious process but just human nature.  If you had 20-30 dentists cold-calling you — what would happen to your relationship with your dentist?  Would you get cheaper, better service?  Maybe.  But probably not.  To many choices leads to bad decisions.  See this post: Too Many Choices Is Bad – Lessons from Speed Dating.

What Can You Do?  The Client Defense Plan to Combat Predatory Sales Data Use
A strong defense is the best offense.  You need to construct a formal plan to help your clients from this flood of unwanted harassment from the financial services industry – as a whole.

Here is what we’ve seen work:

  1. Tell Them What’s Coming – No need to scare them but let them know what is happening in the industry, that you oppose it, feel it is unethical and harassment and will help them cope. 
  2. Describe the Facts, Players and Likely Outcomes – Give credit where credit is due and identify Fidelity as escalating the predatory sales tactics.  If you work with Fidelity and your client does – that’s fine.  Fidelity is a big organization and the different parts are independent.  What one group in Fidelity does may be counter to another
  3. Accept that Your Clients, Especially the HNW and Executives Will Feel Like this is “Identify Theft” – Emotionally, this may feel quite threatening and scary to some (most?) families, executives and plan sponsors.
  4. Let Them Know You Have a Long-Term Protection Plan and Process In-Place for Them Realistically, this is no different from spam and having spam-blocking processes and tools.
  5. Build Process to Accompany Your Regular Client Service Processes to Now Include This – Let clients know that ANY public event or change is data will likely trigger a flood of reactive, predatory sales contacts.

NOTE: Sales managers and sales senior leaders are going to push for maximal use and contacts from these data.  Most wirehouses already are using this same data.    

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Written by Rich and Co.

March 9, 2011 at 10:30 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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