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How can product providers sell more in Financial Services?

Author: Phil Sumbler

It is estimated that there are around 25,000 Independent Financial Adviser’s (IFAs) in the UK, and the marketplace their operate in is ever changing, both in the way the regulations evolve, and with the sheer number of products that are available to them. As a result, IFAs are often unable to keep up with these changes. So how can IFA’s keep abreast of the latest changes, and grow their client base all at the same time?

It helps to have someone who can tell you about the changes

Being an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA) means constantly learning and challenging your knowledge. As the aforementioned regulatory requirements of the role continue to evolve and products, interest rates and provider requirements change on a frequent basis, IFAs consistently turn to the Product Provider Business Development teams to keep them updated, either in person or on the phone. The IFA / Business Development Manager relationship is key.

A growing market, in more ways than one

The FCA reported that the market for financial advice grew by 10% between 2013 and 2017, as noted in their market review.

What has not changed since then is the challenges IFAs face in this market. 

When deciding on what career path they will take IFAs have options:

  • Become product specialists in one sector. In this type of role IFAs can more easily keep abreast of legislation or regulatory changes to understand how and where to place business in order to best meet client’s needs and demands.
  • Become part of a multi adviser firm. The challenges remain the same, but they have a wider staff base from which they can draw knowledge, as well as quite likely a strong compliance team behind them (whether in house or not) who assist with the knowledge and support.

But for your IFA who works on their own there are issues that need to be overcome and, given that in certain sectors they may only advise once or twice per year, their support is traditionally gained from the product provider themselves.

Business Development support becomes essential

The is why the role of Business Development Manager (BDM) will play a huge part in the future success of the financial adviser market. 

This year’s BWD census references that ‘provision of technical knowledge’ and ‘support on individual cases’ are the top two characteristics required of a BDM according to this research.  However, one of the frustrations IFAs cite is that they find their BDM hard to get hold of, with that feedback being commonplace whether field or telephony based.

This suggests that most providers are yet to have enough coverage within their teams, or certainly do not currently have enough coverage to cover the demands of the financial advisers.  For those advisers who maybe would only seek to place one or two pieces of business a year with a provider, this support becomes essential. However, IFAs that operate on this level have less coverage because of the small business potential available.

Deepen your distribution using market expertise

IFAs need to understand what products are available in the marketplace, and they need to understand them in the right way in order to make the correct suggestions to their clients. That’s where outsourced sales teams can be a great support.

Not every adviser is afforded a dedicated resource by financial product providers. This is one of the reasons why we, as a business, believe that extended telephony resource is an essential part of every sales team.

More and more product providers are adopting this as an option, but does it go far enough to ensure each adviser feels supported when they need to be?

The BWD census again references “if providers can convert more adviser relationships to remote or tele-based, they will in principle make significant cost improvements”.  These cost improvements can come not just through deployment of remote based teams, but effective use of sales data to drive activity as well as increased sales volume by covering a wider distribution across the market.

The demands on advisers will only continue to increase as the market evolves and providers will require these cost-efficient solutions to provide the support they are asked. It is the fast-moving nature of the market which leads us to fully support the idea that no part of the adviser market should be unsupported and should have considerable expertise in developing and enhancing distribution strategies.  Our unique use of multiple data streams for both contacts and sales allow us to pinpoint key areas that telephony teams can grow your business whilst working closely with any existing distribution to ensure blanket coverage of your chosen market.

Please get in touch if you would like to discuss options about how we can support you with this.

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We can help you sell more

Did you know we provide fully FCA regulated outsourced field and telesales teams for Financial Services? Contact us to find out more.

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