When it comes to the longevity of the financial advisor population, the industry is aging rapidly: 43 percent of U.S. advisors are over the age of 55 years old. At this rate, the industry will need to recruit and train more than 200,000 advisors in the next five years just to maintain current service levels – a concern by any measure, but especially challenging given the persistently low graduation rates at wirehouse training programs.
Firms have little choice but to place their bets on millennials – who now make up the majority of the workforce – to keep their field sales business afloat. But financial services face a perception issue when it comes to attracting the younger set. The industry isn’t known to be particularly innovative or interesting, especially when it comes to having updated practices and technology that support how millennials interact and make connections.
Which brings us to texting. Most firms still do not support advisor-client texting, despite statistics that reveal it’s happening anyway. Additionally, research shows that millennials (adults 25-34) send and receive, on average, more than 75 texts every day, compared to the 16 texts that adults age 55 and above send and receive daily, on average.
During Hearsay’s Summit in May, keynote speaker Caroline Feeney, President of Prudential Advisors, acknowledged that this business is “certainly not an easy one to get started in as a brand new advisor.” But rather than accept the status quo, Prudential Advisors has rolled out a successful texting program that enables their reps to text their clients and prospects while remaining compliant.
By opening up the advisor-client texting channel, prospective advisor recruits can reach out the same way they would to their friends and family – the exact people most new advisors rely on to build their initial book of business.
Here are three more ways texting can help with recruiting millennial advisors:
1. Change Popular Perception
Like it or not, younger would-be advisors probably have the perception that the average advisor operates like their dads or moms, with antiquated technology and arduous procedures that would make it impossible to do – or, more importantly, like – their jobs. Firms must be able to convince their always-on, always-connected recruits that the industry can support the way they live and communicate – and, in fact, encourages them to be forward-thinking.
2. Accelerate Productivity
With text messages, advisors can compliantly and easily text clients and prospects on the device of their choice. This helps develop highly personal client relationships that ultimately lead to increased business. Text messages streamline an advisor’s workload, accelerating their productivity and efficiency. This gives advisors more time to support a new line of millennial clients.
3. Provide the Ability to Stay Relevant
Text messages provide the ability for all advisors to stay relevant among next-gen clients. Texting allows advisors to dive immediately into their pool of prospects, including their peer networks, and gives firms the opportunity to expand their millennial client base. No longer is the day where mailing information to potential clients is enough. Texting gives advisors the ability to connect with clients in real time, build more meaningful relationships, and provide a seamless client experience.
No one today, let alone a millennial, wants to be tethered to a landline or fax machine. Advisors are already using texts for meeting logistics, to follow up on conversations, and more. Human relationships are at the core of financial advice, and arming a new generation of advisors with every possible tool to build those meaningful relationships is essential to the survival of the industry.