May 2, 2016 Neal Quon

Five Ways for Advisors to Save Time

Saving time seems more complicated the more connected we get. It seems our striving for technological efficiency can work against us in many cases. However, with a few tweaks, an advisor can save time throughout each day. It is a mix of behavioral habits and leveraging the systems you put in place.

Embracing the (Mobile) Virtual Assistant

hands-coffee-smartphone-technologyPractice management technology has come a long way – and with its support for integration to tools like Google For Work and Office 365 – this means those CRM calendars can often sync with your calendar. By default, this means it gets to your phone. Likewise, the virtual assistants known as Cortana, Siri and Google Now have also evolved.

This means as you get your day started, you can have an excellent view into your agenda and reminders/tasks. Having tested all three, I have a preference for Cortana and Google Now. For Cortana, which runs on Windows 10 PCs, you install the app on iPhone and Android devices, and sync with your computer. For Google Now, it simply does a solid job of picking up additional tasks and dates from your inbox – especially if using Google Apps for work. Siri does a fine job, but seems more tuned for your requests versus proactively monitoring your inbox to surface tasks and the like.

Getting a rhythm with starting your day with these tools can shave 15 to 30 minutes off of morning prep – which is clearly a LOT of time in our digital age.

All of these platforms also offer dictation which can save a ton of time and make previously unproductive time in the car productive again by allowing you to dictate emails and text messages. Additionally, tools like Copytalk and Mobile Assistant take this to the next level by integrating directly with Redtail CRM and other tools advisors use on a regular basis.

Avoid Inbox Paralysis

Inbox ParalysisEmail remains a critical business communications tool – yet we know how we can get lost in managing emails and lose sight of important tasks. One excellent tool for doing this internally with your team is learning to use non-email methods of communicating. This is much easier than you might think since so many firms have moved to Google or Microsoft Office 365 for their email and collaboration tools.

Both platforms offer cloud-based storage of documents and chat tools for your internal team (be they in office or remote). This means at minimum you could reduce your internal email flow quite a bit by using chat for questions, answers, requests as well as linking to files team members need. I have seen this approach rescue several hours a week across a team of only two or three people. The key is remembering to stop and think – before I email this – can I link it to team members on chat? Side effect? Your inboxes will shrink and you’ll stop seeing dozens of out of date copies of files in folks hands. Everyone works from one central repository.

Optimize Your Team Meetings

Standup MeetingsMuch like you’ve streamlined the start of your day and how you communicate digitally, also apply some useful (and not unheard of ) practices to your team meetings. You can in many cases also use these for meetings with clients or partners, however, they are most effective with your team.

Always have an agenda. If there are not specific items to cover and address, don’t meet.
If you’ve traditionally booked an hour, try thirty minutes with a clear agenda
Stand in your meetings. This eliminates a lot of wasted time.

Leave phones and laptops out except for scribing notes and presenting materials.

Ask Your Provider to Fine Tune CRM

By adjusting your perspective on your time, communications and meetings – you can also ask your provider or consultants to insure your CRM supports your new efforts to rescue time. Let them know you want to be certain you can:

  • Link and sync your calendars to the CRM calendar (no manual work)
  • Identify how you get your email integrated with CRM to reduce manual copying of communications into your system
  • Can tasks be synchronized with your email/calendar?

If you cannot do these fundamental things with your CRM – you may want to reassess your provider.

Use a password manager

Password ManagerWhile we’ve talked a lot about using a password manager as a way to add rock solid security to your practice, one benefit of using one that is often overlooked is the amount of time saved. When you employ a password manager passwords are always just one click away. No more fishing through notes, files, your wallet or anything else. One password entry and you have access to all of your passwords. Since these tools can generate a secure password for you, additional time is saved. This means that every single day, on the dozens of sites you use to manage your practice, you save time.

As you can see this is about efficiency leveraging both technology and behavior. However, instead of keeping you immersed in the tech, this frees up the time you need for thinking about, speaking with and meeting with clients – the lifeblood of what you do. Leveraging technology to increase effectiveness and efficiency is not always easy but we can help. Contact us to talk about personalized recommendations.

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Neal Quon

Neal Quon began his career in the financial services industry in 1997 and is a graduate of Texas Tech University with a Bachelor of Sciences degree in Family Financial Planning. Being an independent advisor gives Neal an understanding of the challenges financial advisors face when selecting the tools to best meet the needs of their clients. He helped establish the technology for a Texas-based Registered Investment Advisor as he also built his initial book of business. Neal also bridged many channels in financial services, with a consistent focus on the front office of operations. He has worked for and consulted for many of the the industry’s leading service providers. This includes Albridge Solutions and CashEdge, Inc. Neal also directly coached financial advisors, serving as the Practice Consulting Manager for the Pacific Life group of broker dealers prior to their sale to LPL. In founding QuonWarrene with Blane Warrene, he brought client-facing technology expertise and regularly speaks and advises on practice management issues today.