In the current climate, we are being forced to review our business practices and systems. Can software help or is it just another liability?
A cost-benefit analysis helps to get priorities sorted. Can the software help with your
· sales process
· business to be more efficient and professional
· work pattern
· stress levels
Taking each in turn, many advisers are reviewing where new business can be found and one solution is to look further at protection. There are many tools to aid the sale of protection rather than rely on guesswork or what you think the client is prepared to pay. It aids professionalism if you use proper aids automatically passing details from the fact find to clearly review what can be done to match the individuals’ lifestyle and needs. These include survivor needs, income protection and critical illness analysis.
Similarly, reviewing the pension pot - with the latest figures, you can review the pension and discuss the possibilities using what if analysis. Inheritance tax analysis also needs to be revisited using the new rules.
Other calculators that help include loan analysis - where you can show the advantages or disadvantages of different payment arrangements graphically, as well as numerically. You can also do asset, liabilities, expenditure, income, net worth, income tax and investment analysis - all using information directly from the fact find.
The great thing about good software is that the rules are up to date and without a lot of effort you can get attractive reports, often with graphs.
Marketing includes keeping in touch with existing as well as prospective clients. Using software and information already collected on the people in your database you can target any mailshots, eshots, telephone calls etc more accurately.
It is important to make the most of time spent on administration which is linked to salaries and/or time otherwise spent on sales and other productive functions (including the golf course!). By linking electronically to providers for accurate investment and commissions details, you can save many hours of keying in and/or telephoning the providers for up to date information. Ensuring that all activity is recorded and easily retrieved is much easier if all contact including documentation is altogether and properly indexed.
Using user definable and computer generated To Do lists that can be modified to match each case you can ensure that everyone follows procedures and progresses matters efficiently as well as maintaining accurate records.
The last three items on the list above should follow automatically if you get the first three items right for your business. To get your firm recognised as being efficient and professional helps you to justify the fees and/or commission that you receive.
If you set up the processes using proper software, you can get a better work pattern giving you and your colleagues more time to concentrate on servicing the client and hopefully to enhance the sales process.
By having the office computerised so that you always use the PC rather than the filing cabinet you can rely on the PC rather than memory. It also enables distance working, helps to delegate and share work so that you are working as a team and hence puts less pressure and reduces potential stress on each individual.