Ideas to Emphasize Your Humanness

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It’s no secret. Technology is rapidly reshaping our industry. Every aspect of your business that can be automated will be automated.

In a world where everything that can be automated is automated, how will you stand out? Everyone will have access to the same technology tools, so what will set you apart?

Here are five ideas to help you build on your humanness.

1) Client profiling. A comprehensive client profiling process puts the focus on clients and makes them, rather than their portfolios, the center of attention. The heart of the process is a human interaction.

Client profiling is hard to automate because behavioral profiling is not an exact science. Only through collaboration between client and adviser can an appropriate course be determined.

Client profiling also allows you to add value over time. A client’s behavioral profile is not static, so profiling should be an iterative process that requires ongoing client/adviser interaction.

2) Client education. Successful advisers of the future will be educators. They will inform and prepare clients to behave as successful investors.

Soldiers and athletes can be taught to do the right thing in chaotic situations. So, too, can investors. You need to prepare them for the inevitable bumps they will encounter.

3) Client experience. Enhancing the client experience involves moving from thinking about the client’s destination to thinking about creating an outstanding client journey.

When we think about the destination, we think about how to get clients from where they are today to where they need to be. How they feel along the way is not our focus.

Copy of _Our kids are fighting for a world more just and more righteous than we had ever dared to dream of._ (4).pngCreating an excellent client journey means recognizing that there are many ways our clients can get to their respective destinations. Think about every aspect of how you serve your clients. How can you make improvements that reflect the needs and preferences of your clients?

4) Communication. The availability of so many channels of communication should make communication easier and better. The opposite seems to be true. Here are some ideas for dealing with this issue.

First, be where your clients are and communicate in ways that are appealing to them. Find out how your clients want to interact and make sure they have that option.

Be responsive. If you want to stand out favorably, respond quickly and personally to your clients or prospects when they reach out. Responsiveness builds trust.

Finally, create the sense you are always standing by. We live in a 24/7 world. Clients want access to you. They want to feel your presence.

5) Websites. Your website is like your face used to be. You used to get clients by meeting them in person. Now, their first encounter with you is likely to be your website. You’ll never get a chance to meet them if they don’t like your website.

Most adviser websites are very similar. Similar words, similar imagery. Lots of facts. Very little personality. No way for a prospect to get a feeling for who you are and what you stand for.

Give prospects some basis for differentiating you from the other firms they’re going to check out. Be genuine. Make an emotional connection.

Don’t focus so much on what you do. Focus on who you are. It is much easier to differentiate yourself based on your unique personality and experiences.

Focus on Your Humanness

As the future unfolds, the key is to remember that the essence of the relationship between an adviser and a client is a deeply personal one. Build your offering on that basic truth.


Scott MacKillop is CEO of First Ascent Asset Management, a Denver-based firm that provides investment management services to financial advisers and their clients. He is a 40-year veteran of the financial services industry. He can be reached at




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