Travel entrepreneur Meredith Hill said it best: “When you speak to everyone, you speak to no one.” If your message isn’t focused and aimed well, it will be so generic you’ll miss the whole crowd.
In the conclusion of our personas series, we’ll look at the last of our 11 common personas for advisors and how they can help you tailor your approach for these client personas’ needs. We’ve compiled the top personas advisors work with – check out parts one, two and three – and now we’re ready to wrap it up. Want the whole series in one convenient bundle? Check out our downloadable guide, “Who’s Your Client?” for all 11 personas. The point of creating personas is to take your message from generic to specific – targeting prospects you want to work with. Rather than throwing your net over the side of the boat, personas tell you what kind of bait, sinker and line to use for exactly the fish you want to catch.
You won’t see all your personas here. You know your business, you know your audience. But our hope is that this series can give you some initial framing for building your own personas.
10. Emergency Emory
Emory needs help yesterday! Some life event has come up, and he needs an advisor immediately. Maybe it’s an expense (divorce, death of a spouse, bum business deal), or maybe it’s a windfall (beefy inheritance, sweet real estate sale, lottery winning). Either way, it caught him unawares and he needs you right now.
What Does this Persona Need?
- Immediate assistance navigating his most pressing need
- Help looking beyond the immediate crisis to 10 or 20 years down the road
- Reassurance that a careful plan will hold together and help him the most in the end
Fairly competent financially, he’s just never been much of a planner. He pays bills and puts some away, but also enjoys the occasional expensive meal or impromptu trip. Emory lives in the moment.
Family and hanging out with his fishing buddies. Loves taking road trips and other vacations.
Married. Mid-40s. $75k salary. Lives near a lake in a semi-rural area.
What’s on Emory’s Mind…
“I’ve been meaning to get a financial advisor for years.” “I don’t want to mess anything up.”
How to Exceed Emory’s Expectations
- Be available on short notice, possibly outside of business hours for his pressing need. His current emotional thinking probably won’t follow a schedule.
- Compare the experiences of people who don’t plan with those who do. Show some hard numbers to get his attention.
- Be ready for implications he’s never even thought of.
- Emory is short on time. Make your meetings short, your explanations simple and your financial plan concrete.
11. Industry Ike
Ike works at the big local employer and has for basically his whole life. He’s contributed as much as he can faithfully to his 401(k) and had a good matching plan through the company. Now he’s ready to retire.
What Does this Persona Need?
- Someone who understands the finer points of his company’s 401(k) and/or pension plans and can optimize them
- To know that his money will last the rest of his life and eventually help him plan a legacy for his kids and new granddaughter
Hard-worker ready to retire and reap the benefits he’s been promised for so long. He’s slowing down and is ready to savor these years
Sports, family, vacationing and hanging out with his buddies
Married. Early-60s. $90k annual income. Three grown children. Lives in the upper-class suburbs
What’s On Ike’s Mind…
“I know it sounds crazy, but I’m worried my company’s gonna try to screw me out of some of my retirement money.” “I could use a day off.” “I feel like I’ll be okay, but I want to be sure.”
How to Exceed Ike’s Expectations
- Demonstrate insider knowledge of his company’s employer compensation plan
- Establish yourself as an advocate who will help
- Integrate Social Security and Medicare into his overall plan
- Help him start with legacy planning, for example squirreling away some of his RMDs into a college account for the grandkids
Who are Your Personas?
So that’s it: retirees, business owners, young professionals, CEOs, widows – do any of these sound familiar? Think through the people that show up at your office (or on your website) every day. Are they biting their fingernails like Nervous Nelly? Are they checking their watch every two minutes like CEO Cecil? Planning intentionally toward real flesh-and-blood clients will give your marketing the voice it needs and prepare you for the kind of customer service to expect.
To be an advisor is to enter someone’s story for a while. Their family situation, their life-stage, their occupation, even their favorite hobbies can enter into the plan. Thinking through these three-dimensional personas can help you speak your prospects’ language so you can start the conversation. Don’t forget to pick up the downloadable persona guide, by clicking below.