How many of you reading this have heard the quote: “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been”? Quite a few of you we imagine. It’s a quote that was taken out of context from legendary Canadian ice hockey player, Wayne Gretzky’s autobiography. In his book, Wayne describes how at practices his dad would drill him on the fundamentals of smart hockey:
Wayne’s dad: "Where's the last place a guy looks before he passes it?"
Wayne: "The guy he's passing to."
Wayne’s dad: "Which means..."
Wayne: "Get over there and intercept it."
Wayne’s dad: "Where do you skate?"
Wayne: "To where the puck is going, not where it's been."
Now, we're not saying it’s a bad misquote. In fact it’s a very sensible piece of advice. But it's something business consultants have a habit of saying in (usually overpriced) slide decks expecting their audience to treat it like some sort of epiphany each and every time. We know that, in order to be successful, we need to be in the right place at the right time. That’s kind of obvious. What would be much more valuable for most businesses is help in identifying the gaps and barriers in propositions that are preventing success. So more around how we get to the right place and what we do when we get there.
In our industry we are frequently told we need to close the advice gap and that we can do this through digital channels but rarely is it explained how we get to this point. Many advice firms have built strong businesses through traditional face to face services and deliver great value and while they may now wish to extend and complement these services they need help and support in doing so. Its not about disagreeing with the need for digital – its how they get there that is the debate.
To be able to provide an efficient targeted advice proposition through different service delivery channels, and to attract new clients and retain existing ones, you need to be ahead of the game. You need to be anticipating where that puck is going, and be ready to engage with it ahead of the competition. And to do that you might need some help in identifying the proposition barriers that are getting in the way of your business reaching its maximum potential.
A route could be to produce a gap analysis of your proposition to help you identify where process and system efficiencies can be made. For instance, is your factfinding process optimal, or could technology improve it? How about your quotation and new business process? Can technology improve things there? And what about MI? Do you have all the data you need, and a way of effectively interrogating it, to ensure you’re providing the right type of service to the right clients? These are just a few areas where you will likely find ways of improving your proposition through technology.
Whatever the route is for your business, if you settle for the status quo in the digital world you're guaranteeing failure. It's all about seizing the opportunity to grow your business and become more profitable.
Talking about taking opportunities, there is one other Wayne Gretzky quote than we can get behind completely: “You miss 100% of the shots you don't take”.
A version of this blog first appeared as an article in Professional Adviser, UK – 3/08/17
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