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This time is different: Vidler

Adviser coach Tony Vidler says adviser businesses have an opportunity to develop a team of client advocates for what they do, during the Covid-19 disruption – but there will be some hard work involved for some to get through.

Thursday, April 16th 2020, 10:13PM

Tony Vidler

Vidler addressed a recent Financial Advice New Zealand webinar, as part of its Bring in the Experts Covid-19 series.

The panel discussed management of adviser businesses during the pandemic.

Vidler said he recommended creating an “Armageddon” budget – pared back to the worst-case scenario so that the business owner could assess what the hard bottom-line numbers were if disaster struck. “What do I need to survive, how do I get back in the game?”

He said that would be firstly about cash management and understanding what costs could not be cut, as well as what revenue was likely to stop completely.

“This time is different. This is way different to anything else I’ve seen in my experience in the financial services sector.”

But he said advisers were in the “reassurance” business rather than advice at the moment.

“Our number one job is managing emotions, fears and uncertainties, not advice, solutions or plans for the long term. It’s helping people through the short term. The most powerful question at the moment is 'how are you doing', not 'what do you need me to do for you'.”

He said the business metric that mattered would be how many clients that were helped in a day.

“Therein lies the path to success. Not trying to retain business but trying to retain relationships with people who will be doing business with us in the future.”

That would mean doubling down on communication, he said, trying to get personal with clients. “It needs to be one to one, that’s the stuff they’ll remember. They won’t remember whether you told them how to save $20 from their budget. They’ll remember you had their back and that will turn them into advocates to create referral opportunities in future when we get back to some degree of normality.”

Adviser businesses would have to work through the “rubble” he said. “You can’t make progress with a rebuild until you get rid of debris. We’ve all got rubble in our businesses. Software you’ve been paying the licence for in the last three years and don’t know why.

"Or we’re not using our staff and our people to their potential. There’s a lot of stuff we could be better at, this is a great time to design a business for the future and lay down the conduct and culture expected for the future.”

 Advisers who spent time questioning where money was spent and how productive processes were would come out with a much more robust business, he said.

Tags: coronavirus Covid-19 Financial Advice New Zealand Tony Vidler

« [Opinion] Two and two are still fourMann on a mission to diversify financial advice »

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