Focusing on benefits over features

June 24, 2016 by Adeline Gerritts

About the author:

Adeline Gerritts

Content marketing specialist

Adeline strives to create a virtual community for advisors on the Advicent blog through collaboration with various departments across the organization to gather quality content about industry trends and hot topics.

Oftentimes buyers get wide-eyed over the features of a product and do not realize the true benefits that result from those features. Features are typically the first thing we look at when it comes to a product or tool. I can be a very feature-focused buyer when it comes to a tool I may be looking for.

NaviPlan®, for example, has some amazing features I would be highly interested in as an advisor – personalized reporting, advanced planning, lead generation, and an additional client portal. But what is the true benefit of these features in this planning application?

Benefits of advanced planning

Advanced planning sounds like an amazing feature, but what does it mean to an advisor? It means an advisor is able to quickly adapt to the needs of a client through detailed plans or a quick needs assessment, whichever is more appropriate for the situation.

With regular tax updates and Monte Carlo scenario simulation calculations, the plans of their clients will always be up-to-date and as accurate as possible. This accuracy and credibility is a huge benefit when creating plans, enabling advisors to work with any client that walks through their doors.

Benefits of personalized reporting

With the potential to have such a wide variety of clients walking into their office, creating plans with personalized reporting sounds like a feature advisors need as well. Advisors run reports for clients all the time. Every client is different, so their reports will most likely need to be different as well. But what is the benefit of having personalized reporting?

It means advisors can create a customized report for each of their clients. Advisors are also able to add their firm’s own documents and branding to reports. Rather than printing out a large report that some of your clients may not be able to understand, you can select which report pages to hand them. Some might want a 40-page detailed report while others might want a quick two- or three-page summary when they leave a meeting. Personalized reporting allows advisors to provide the type of report the best suites each client, empowering better communication between the advisor and client.

Benefits of the lead generation tool

Lead generation is definitely a feature for which I would be looking if I was a financial advisor. Prospecting is hard when you are busy creating plans for current clients, and more clients equals more success.

The benefit of a lead generation tool is that advisors do not have to spend as much time actively prospecting for new clients. That time advisors save can now be spent meeting with current clients and fostering a more collaborative client-advisor relationship. In addition, the lead generation tool allows prospective clients to enter in their basic financial information before advisors even meet them, streamlining the initial consult and saving even more time on data entry.

Benefits of a client portal

Meeting with clients in today’s technological world usually requires some type of client portal, such as Narrator® Clients, that is powered by a financial planning application. Clients are able to log in to almost all of their financial accounts now-a-days to see their current status. Being technologically current is great, but the real benefit of having that client-facing portal is that advisors can always remain connected to the accounts of their clients.

When clients log in, they are able to aggregate all their accounts through a Personal Financial Management (PFM) tool, which means advisors can get a better look at the entire financial situation when creating a plan. Having that one-on-one connection will also allow advisors to become a client’s financial “life coach” and go-to person for all things finances.

Focus on benefits, rather than simply features

Going past the features to see what their true benefits are is more important than simply the feature itself. Theodore Levitt said, “People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill; they want a quarter-inch hole.”

Advisors do not want to buy just another planning tool. They want to create plans to increase their AUM, sell more product, find held-away assets, and increase leads. That is the benefit here. My advice – focus on what you need the software to accomplish and then determine the features that will help you see success.