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The start of any year is an opportunity for advisors to reflect on what worked the year prior, what didn’t, what trends they need to be aware of and therefore what will they need to do differently in the coming 12 months to achieve their targets both personally and for the business.

Mindshop has just completed an annual Training Needs Analysis by surveying the hundreds of advisors and business leaders it works with globally to better understand the emerging trends, key issues, new opportunities, support and training required to improve their performance over the year ahead.

The purpose of this paper is to use the results of the survey, our recent research on advisory trends and our observations of what is working and what is not in the advisory industry to provide a road-map to guide advisors towards success in 2015. So let’s start with the advisory trends…

2015 Top 6 Advisory Trends: What will shape your vision for 2015?

changereadiness11. Change Readiness: Most businesses have had ‘ground hog’ years due to their adoption of a trial and error approach to management. Typically they miss the real reasons they only succeed 30% of the time. Help is required to get them change ready.

simplicity22. Simplicity – Focus: Businesses are struggling to keep up with the pace of change and are searching for simplicity in the advice they are being given to provide them focus and clarity on the two or three things they need to work on over the year ahead.

digitaldisruption3. Digital Disruption: Accelerated development of disruptive technologies and business models will continue to commoditise many traditional services that can be sourced in a more cost effective and time efficient manner.

outsurce44. Outsourced everything: Businesses have spent the last 5 years focusing on profit post the Global Financial Crisis. As they push for growth they are turning to more freelancers and outsourced ‘advisors’ to fill gaps in their business.

microlearning_new25. Micro-learning: No longer do business people want to sit through two day training courses. They are time poor and have short attention spans. Viewing short 10 minute videos or completing tailored 3-4 module online training courses as required to fix their issues is the future. How will you help?

leanstartupthinking6. Lean start-up thinking: 10 years ago it used to be annual planning days that were used to re-set strategies for the year. Then it progressed to quarterly workshops and now with the fast pace of business there is a need to learn and adapt more quickly (weekly / monthly). Helping clients move quicker through their learning cycle will be a key skill for advisors.

With these market trends in mind we turned our attention to the insights gathered from Mindshop’s Annual Training Needs Analysis surveys as to what will shape an advisors strategies in 2015.

2015 Top 10 Training Needs Analysis insights. What will shape your strategies for 2015?

1. Change is an opportunity rather than an obstacle

• There are currently too many initiatives to action, too much new thinking, too many options and not enough people within businesses to implement them. Change is therefore either an obstacle or an opportunity for more advisory work depending on your point of view.

Strategy: Start each client engagement by challenging their level of change readiness to achieving a successfull outcome.

2. More doing, less advising

• Lean businesses seeking to grow will draw on more advisors to fill skill gaps but they will also be seeking those that will do more and advise less. Facilitating solutions to problems / opportunities will still be important but advisors will need to be more hands on to ensure clients stay engaged.

Strategy: Shift the positioning of your engagements from just advice to also demonstrating you will roll up your sleeves and do more of the delivery of the outcome

3. Bigger will be better

• Finally advisors are seeing the need to shift their business models towards offering greater ‘blended’ learning (blending technology and face-to-face) delivery options to clients, having clear intensity of support ‘options’ for clients to select and changing the mix of service offerings to be better suited to the current needs of busy clients.

Strategy: Review your business model / targets for 2015 and be open to grab larger opportunities as they present themselves. Leverage other advisors and technologies in the delivery to provide scale

4. NEW business models required

• The push for more be-spoke / custom programs by clients is driving the need for advisors to develop deeper, higher value engagements with a handful of clients. While a one-to-many (mass market) model is still very effective, the balance needs to shift slightly to grab these larger, higher value engagements.

Strategy: Ensure you tailor a solution to each client and provide intensity of support options in your discussions and proposals

5. Growth and Profit still the focus….and will always be

• Improving Growth and Profit are still the burning issues for advisors and their clients. The 2015 survey results shows the focus has shifted from brand new strategies to more a focus on implementing the fundamentals to make it happen in 2015.

Strategy: Assistance with implementation of strategy rather than just its development should be built into each client engagement

6. Leverage your wisdom – challenge customers

• In a busy, rapidly changing, volatile world where businesses are trying to determine what to focus on, there is a need for advisors to provide ‘relevant’ wisdom and challenge customers on what to they should be focusing on. Customers are crying out for an authentic voice in a sea of sameness.

Strategy: After listening to the outcomes a customer wants, don’t be afraid to challenge their thinking

7. Will your sales process actually achieve the results? Most won’t!

• Most advisors either don’t have a sales process / contact program OR the one they have is too complex and doesn’t match how they actually convert new business. 80% of their business comes through referrals but 0% of their sales process relates to referrals. As clients ‘trust’ social media less and less and search out authenticity there is a push to go back to ‘old-school’ approaches to convert new business. These are often the most simple of sales strategies.

Strategy: Don’t over complicate your sales process. Listen more to customers. Learn quickly what works, what doesn’t in converting the right target clients. Don’t stop!

8. Discipline and Tenacity are so often over-looked

• The Achilles heel of many advisors is their poor level of discipline and tenacity to do what they say they will. Quite often a conversation will be had about a lack of new opportunities and when asked, “did you implement the contact program that was discussed?” many advisors will say they didn’t get around to it. The successful advisors are self-aware and doing the fundamentals well.

Strategy: Don’t commit to too much in your strategies for 2015. Start small and build momentum. Work with your Mindshop support coaches to hold you accountable to your strategies and actions

9. Fluency in the tools to tackle unpredictable problems

• It’s no surprise that some of the most successful advisors in Mindshop are also those who are the most fluent in a range of business tools. They have practiced regularly and it’s now their natural way of doing business. This provides them the confidence and capability to tackle any customer issue but also adapt quickly as required. They are not running from a script.

Strategy: Ensure you focus on a suite of 8-10 Mindshop business tools that suits your style and form a firm base for how you tackle most customer challenges. Practice them almost daily by embedding them into team and customer training

10. The need for greater leverage through Mindshop online

• Mindshop Online has provided an exciting leveraging opportunity for advisors to offer more accountability and tailored training to Mindshop Advisor’s clients anywhere in the world. Understanding the power available is critical to ensure it’s weaved into the way each advisor delivers advisory services and allows them to identify a greater array of opportunities.

Strategy: For Mindshop advisors, they should be putting customers onto Mindshop online (leveraging their two free places) and diarising at least weekly to be challenging their clients strategies, actions and professional

Contact us for further information

If you have any questions about the survey results or Mindshop please touch base with a regional representative below:

Australia / New Zealand – James Mason (

United Kingdom – Gill Burn (

North America – Chris Mason(

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