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Throughout this article, we’re going to be digging into these three important points.
- Creating a client persona can be daunting, but by using a little creative thinking you can craft personas that prepare your clients for their unique futures.
- Each person is different, and so is each client persona. That’s why we’ve included examples that not only work, but bring to life the people that are going to be coming to you for financial advice.
- Once your personas are made, you’re going to need to test them. Doing so in a constructive way could be the difference between a potential client and subsequent earnings in the future. We are here to provide you with the confidence necessary to take these personas out into the world, and seize the day.
Cultivating the right client persona is a multistep process that requires you to not just understand your clients’ needs but put yourself directly in their shoes. By embodying the mindset of an ideal client, your ability to advertise and provide sound financial advice becomes exponentially more effective.
Many advisors make the common mistake of thinking that by casting a wide net, they will be able to market to as many customers as possible. In reality, spreading yourself too thin means that you may find it hard to relate to the clients you’re trying to pick up. And, in the long run, it will be much harder to keep those clients once you’ve acquired them.
This is mainly because in trying to please everyone, you end up pleasing no one. Proving the best advice while also generating the most profit comes down to understanding one simple concept; It’s better to impress a smaller (more specific) group with your financial acumen, then attempting to knock the socks off of every prospective customer you meet.
So it’s time to get personal and craft definite client personas that never fail. The first step in understanding your ideal customer is defining what a client persona is in the simplest of terms.
What Is A Client Persona?
A client persona essentially is an amalgam of your ideal customer. This is someone who your marketing is directed squarely toward and is generated through a myriad of sources. Most good advisors have under ten specific client personas that they work with, and among these, try to predict how to best serve the individuals that fit those profiles.
It’s your job to comprehend who may need your services, project what their financial goals will be, and who they are as people in the real world. In short, you have to create characters that will loosely resemble the actual individuals that you’ll be serving. What do they need? What are their hopes and fears? How old are they? Do they have any children? The list goes on and on.
Ask yourself all the aforementioned questions and then some, just to be able to manifest a living-breathing template that you can utilize during your marketing campaigns. By better knowing who comes to you for help, you can better help them. Makes sense, right?
Keep in mind that no matter how specific you get with these definitions, the actual people that come into your business are bound to throw some curveballs. After all, they’re human beings — not some made-up profile.
When that happens, you have to be prepared to roll with the punches and cater to the immediate needs of your clients. But that doesn’t mean the bits and pieces of the personas you’ve already created can’t be useful. Really, client personas allow for educated guesses and should never be used so strictly that it puts the overall quality of your marketing at risk.
Creating The Client Persona
Now that we’ve defined what a client persona is, let’s switch gears and figure out how to create them and some of the more common personas out there that you can fold into your work.
Steps To Create Your Client Persona
Step 1: Humanize Your Personas
Give your client personas a real name, first and last — one that not only fits who they are as characters but also reflects the contemporary sentiments of the individuals you’re marketing to. Add an adjacent headshot to this new persona to give a face to the name, and by doing so, you’ll be on your way toward making a stellar persona that is sure to succeed.
Step 2: Personal Information
Imbue information to these newly minted characters to build out their lives. What is their gender? How old are they? Age? Marital status? Where do they live? What is their level of education? Do they have kids? Many of these key questions will allow you to understand how these people live, and what their goals are. In short, these demographics should include;
- Location (Where they live)
- Relationships (Marriage, children, family, etc)
By using these, you will be able to determine your clients’ personality and habits, while appealing to their larger lifestyle and personal/career goals.
Step 3: Build Financial Status
What are the finances of your client persona? What is their income, passive or otherwise? How do they spend/save their money? Would they like to retire in the future, and when? Is this person looking to invest, or have they already begun?
Step 4: Any Objections?
Next, try to figure out what some of their problems may be with your plan. Are there any financial moves they may be adverse to? You need to do this step each and every time, mainly as a litmus test surrounding how you can overcome a real client’s protests during your consultations.
Step 5: How Do They Stay Connected?
Finally, after building a solid profile, you must answer two more questions about your client persona; Where does this person get their information on financial advice? And, where do they spend time on social media (Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc?) Both of these questions provide invaluable data, allowing you to better understand how your clients think and act.
Testing The Client Persona
Now that we’ve gone through all the nuts and bolts of the ideal client persona let’s put these techniques to practice and test examples of our own.
Here Are Our Clients;
Planning to retire Patricia and Paul.
Patricia and Paul have been married for thirty-two years and are looking to finally slow down. Over the course of their life together, Patricia and Paul have managed their finances personally. Now though, with retirement on the horizon, they’re looking to get the most out of their money.
Patricia is sixty-four, and Paul is sixty-three. They live in a small suburb of Chicago. Together they have three children (who have moved away), and their total household income ranges anywhere from $150,000 to $200,000 a year.
Patricia is planning on retiring as a third-grade teacher, and Paul has found success working as an engineer in Chicago. Now that Paul is older, he too is looking to slow down and either quit his job entirely or work on a consulting basis for his employer. They enjoy hiking on the weekends, spending time with friends, and watching television. They both spend the majority of their time on Facebook, and don’t really watch the news.
The happy couple would like to protect themselves from inflation and changing stock markets but also desire to invest a chunk of their earnings into the market to try and hedge their finances and grow their nest egg.
In short, they would enjoy living comfortably for the rest of their lives and fund their modest lifestyle.
What Do Patricia And Paul Need?
Patricia and Paul need someone they can trust. Not just that, they need someone who understands where they are in their lives to conceptualize how to achieve their goals.
The couple needs someone who can invest their money in a portfolio that has a percentage return that is steady and uncomplicated. Moreover, they do not need someone who is going to make quick investment decisions that lead to overall financial volatility.
In short, Patricia and Paul need a confident partner. Someone who knows that they have handled their own money most of their lives and don’t need a person to come in and change everything. Rather, the couple needs someone who can complement their existing strategies and suggest new paths toward financial freedom.
You can get their attention in many ways, most notably through social media (Facebook) and word of mouth. Patricia and Paul spend time with friends and live an active lifestyle; if you’re the type of person that does the same — it won’t be hard to catch their eye. Patricia and Paul are real, down-to-Earth people, be who you already are.
To deter them from your services, all you really need to do is be too cookie cutter. Patricia and Paul haven’t made it this far by listening to every advisor that comes their way, and they definitely have had their fair share of experience in the field. If you try to market to them in a generic way, without any of your own personal touches – they won’t bite.
Make sure to communicate to them that they don’t really need your help, instead give them all the positive information surrounding how your advice could only make their current decisions stronger. Be a partner to Patricia and Paul.
Other Client Persona Examples
Quickly, here are a couple of other client persona examples that cover a wide variety of demographics.
Eddie is a young business professional with an incredible track record. As a newly minted executive at his tech company, Eddie possesses a substantial net worth and plans for a financial future. Yet, he would still like supplementary advising on the side to gain even more confidence in the financial arena. Your task as his first point of contact is simple;
It is your job as a financial advisor to a high-net-worth client to not only respect their opinions but understand that they were doing fine for themselves even before you came along. That said, your value should not be undersold.
Just because someone is doing well does not mean that they don’t need help, and often, having another voice in the room can mitigate many of the financial pitfalls these high-asset clients get caught up in.
You do not need to guide or teach Eddie — he knows what he’s doing. Instead, treat him as an equal who has the knowledge set to understand your advice. In that way, he can become a collaborator and someone you can bounce ideas off. Be firm and respectful in your opinions, and treat his money as if it were your own.
Newly Married Mark And Melissa
Mark and Melissa have just gotten hitched and would like to finance their new lifestyle together. Clearly, they would like to provide themselves with some financial security for the future, invest their money, and potentially prepare to start a family. In that way, what you need to provide them is fairly straightforward.
These are young people who may have never received any financial advice. So it becomes your job to transform into a guide, someone to lead them through their first steps in this world. First and foremost, you need to generate a plan, think beyond their immediate futures, and make sure they don’t make entry-level mistakes when the financial market changes.
Wilson is a retiree whose wife has recently passed away. When the couple first retired, they made all their financial decisions together and saved their money. Wilson is now looking to maintain his finances, make good decisions, invest and save, and ensure that he is taken care of for the rest of his life.
As a financial advisor, you need to be fairly conservative with Wilson. Make a plan that avoids risks, plans for the future, and involves Wilson’s children in your thought process to understand two concepts; Wilson would like to remain independent and doesn’t need his children’s advice all the time. You need to relate to Wilson, remain human, and become someone he can trust entirely.
Now It’s Your Turn
All anyone would ever need to know about how to cultivate winning client personas and connect with the largest, and at the same time most specific, audience. Learning how to make convincing personas certainly takes time but is a skill that pays big in the long run.
If you had any pressing questions or conceptual hang-ups throughout this article, feel free to reach out to the professionals at Peregrine Consulting Group, and we would be happy to help you get your prospective client personas off the ground.