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How Gareth Dobson teamed up with Trail to streamline his financial advice business



Finsol is a group of award winning insurance and mortgage brokers that help clients to set up the right insurance arrangements, secure home loans, and select the best Kiwisaver funds for their needs.

Based out of Hawke's Bay, they have team members located in Northland, Auckland and Rotorua, and look after many of their clients remotely - often without meeting face to face.

This presents a unique set of challenges and opportunities, which mean that the team at Finsol rely on high performing software to do a good job.

And that’s where Trail fits into the picture…

In this case study, we take a closer look at the journey that Gareth Dobson’s brokerage, Finsol has experienced through adopting Trail as a core part of their business.

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Gareth Dobson, Finsol

“It’s much easier to work together when everything is in one place.”

Key benefit from using Trail

By replacing a handful of inefficient systems with Trail, Gareth’s team have been able to provide better customer service, spend less time doing paperwork, and make more money by supporting a wider customer base.

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The problem

Too many apps meant that delivering a great service required lots of work

Before starting Finsol, Gareth became frustrated with the ‘old school’ approach that many financial advisors took towards looking after their clients.

He felt that he could do a better job as a financial advisor by providing the right guidance and effectively handling claims, so he decided to start his own brokerage.

Finsol was born

With a desire to bring a modern approach to the market, Gareth wanted to use technology to drive efficiency and deliver fantastic service. Although this was a great idea, he couldn’t find the right software in the beginning.

Unaware of Trail, Finsol instead opted for a combination of a few different systems to meet their needs.

“We were forced to develop our own writable PDF documents… We were using lots of different bits of software and lots of different types of documents to tick off the compliance process but also make it easy and informative for the client.”

While customers appreciated the high level of service that they provided, this meant more work for Gareth and his team.

“I think on the face of it, it was doing the job for the client, but it was very time consuming for us in order to do that. I didn’t understand why there wasn’t a streamlined process and software to use that could solve a lot of those advisor issues around compliance and also presenting information to clients.”

This is a challenge that many insurance advisors around New Zealand face - do you go above and beyond to provide an exceptional level of service (and work longer hours), or do you instead opt to see more clients and give each one less attention as a result?

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The Solution

Trail helped Finsol to streamline their operations and free up resources for growth

When Gareth discovered that there is already a platform designed specifically for the New Zealand advice industry, he was immediately drawn to Trail.

“With Trail, I think the main thing was, aside from the obvious things it can do, if it can save us more time, we can complete more business, and we can see more people, and we can help more people. So it’s literally translated into saving a substantial amount of time, but also an increase in turnover.”

It’s much easier to work together when everything is in one place

By replacing all of the different forms and standalone apps with one streamlined system, Gareth was able to simplify the operations of his business and make it easier for the admin staff, advisors and clients to work together.

“The ability to assign tasks to admin staff [was useful]. Also to assign client profiles to other advisors. Quite often we work with another advisor, depending on the location of the client.”

Because Trail is designed with teams and relationships at the heart of it, collaboration comes naturally. This meant that Gareth’s team could avoid double handling information, allowing each person to instead focus their efforts where it matters most.

Custom made for Kiwi advisors

The team at Finsol have always cared about treating customers exceptionally well, and constantly looking for ways to do things better. After all, their brand promise is that ‘continuous improvement drives us and sets us apart’.

So when it came to selecting the right software to power their enterprise, they needed a solution that met all of their needs but also one that provided room for ongoing development.

“The promise from Trail is that if things are required in the future, they will be happy to work with us to add additional things to the platform.”

This provided them with the best of both worlds - an easy to learn system that could look after the basics right away, but one that could also help to streamline other areas of their operation over time.

As Gareth and his team discovered more of Trail’s features, they found many more ways to improve what they were doing, and to turn the ‘old school’ model on its head.

“The more we use Trail, the more things are working out to streamline our business.”

Intuitive systems make it easy for everyone to understand

Nobody likes to waste time getting lost in new systems and manually transferring information from one app to the next. So it was important that they could easily transfer their existing data to Trail and get started without any major disruptions.

“We had 2,500 clients and there were a few things to work through, but the migration of the data was pretty clean.”

Once it was all set up, Gareth’s team didn’t need much training before they were ready to use the platform.

“Feedback in general from admin staff is that it has been really good… You just follow your nose, and it’s not a very complex system to learn.”

All in all, this meant an easy transition which saved time and freed his team up to focus on what they do best - delivering excellent service to clients.

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The Result

Finsol is now more efficient, easier to manage and provides better results for customers

With the introduction of Trail, Gareth’s team have been able to win more business while doing less work per client. They have robust systems in place to ensure that clients receive the treatment they deserve from day one, and their advisors are able to relax knowing that they are compliant with the latest laws.

When we look back on Gareth’s journey, there are many ways in which Trail has transformed his business. However, these three benefits stand out in particular:

  1. Clients are onboarded in the right way.
  2. Advisors feel more comfortable knowing that they are compliant with the latest regulations.
  3. They have a high degree of flexibility in how applications are looked after.

Onboarding clients properly means developing lasting relationships

Trail has changed the way that Finsol onboards new clients. By gathering the right information from the outset and using interactive systems instead of outdated PDFs, advisors are able to make sure that they don’t miss anything.

“Definitely onboarding more clients [is a key benefit]. And not just onboarding them, but onboarding them in the right way. Having a lot more time available to do other things, and definitely an increase in turnover without a doubt.”

By onboarding clients in the right way, the system takes over many aspects of the customer experience - such as automating the annual review process and simplifying the fact find procedure.

Ultimately, this equates to each advisor having more time available to scout for new business and focus on building relationships (instead of processing paperwork).

Advisors feel more comfortable knowing that they are compliant with the latest regulations

When it comes to financial advice, there are strict laws in place to ensure that brokers are doing right by their clients. This means that advisors are responsible for keeping up to date with the latest rules.

By using Trail, Gareth has put robust systems in place that make sure every box is checked along the way, and that the client is receiving the financial products that are best suited to their needs.

“Rather than being a guessing game, this is the system that we do for every client. We know that the advice process is robust, and it’s versatile as well.”

In doing so, Finsol’s advisors are now able to relax knowing that they are doing everything they can to stay on the right side of the rules. This provides “peace of mind that the advice process and the statement of advice is compliant.”

“The big thing was the needs analysis, the system automatically working out in an ideal world where the client would be cover-wise and what the spend would be, and further refining from there.”

Trail allows for a much higher degree of flexibility when looking after applications

The traditional process for gathering the right information to submit an insurance or loan application typically involves setting time aside for a lengthy fact find meeting or having the client fill out a detailed application form.

With Trail, they are now able to adapt the way they work to fit in with what suits their clients best. Here’s a recent example of how it saved time and impressed one of their clients...

“We got a referral from a commercial insurance broker for a new client in Wellington that’s an architect. He’s really busy and didn’t want to meet anyone in person. We sent the fact find link through on the Saturday and attended to it on Monday morning. It was done within 20 minutes. I gave him a call to do the needs analysis over the phone and he was just like ‘wow this is really awesome. The last experience I had was an older advisor who tried to rope me in for a 2 hour meeting for the first consultation and I just literally told him I had no time’, and there was no flexibility around the way he could give advice.”

“With this, you’ve got the option of doing the fact find in person or you’ve got the freedom of sending somebody a link, and the engagement with people actually completing the link is probably 80 or 90 percent. So the general feedback on that is that it’s easy to use and it’s not too long, but it captures all the necessary information”

Would you like to provide better service while spending less time on each client?

Before Trail existed, there was no dedicated CRM software for financial advisors in New Zealand. Instead, brokers had no choice but to use inefficient systems that weren’t designed with their specific needs in mind.

We discovered this problem after running into these challenges in our mortgage advisory business, Mortgage HQ (previously iRefi Limited) - which is why we created Trail.

Fast forward to today, and we are now helping leading advisors throughout New Zealand to grow smarter, and make more money.

If you’re ready to experience results like Finsol has, then click the button below to book a demo and take the system for a spin!

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