At Finworx, everything we do is tied to communication and how it can affect human behavior. As we say, “The right message sent to the right person at the right time can change the world,” and we apply this to finance in many ways.
- Some individuals find it intimidating to consult a financial advisor, so it’s important to bridge that gap by communicating in a relevant way and building a relationship of comfort, familiarity, credibility, and trust.
- It is crucial to have regular communication with your clients that strengthens your relationship so, in hard times, you can walk anxious clients “off the ledge,” so to speak.
- Communicating on their terms is essential to letting clients know you understand their concerns and needs.
We look at communication through the lens of behavioral finance, relaxing the “rational” assumption held in traditional finance and looking at how human beings actually make decisions—not just how we “should.”
Our team of behavioral finance experts has conducted exhaustive research on the works of Michael Pompian, Richard Thaler, and many other brilliant minds in behavioral economics. We have studied concepts of choice architecture, framing, behavioral investor types, and much more to build a deep understanding of how advisors can most effectively communicate with clients to encourage positive behavior and improve outcomes.
Here is what we have found…
You must be a trusted thought leader.
As the advisor, you should be the one trusted source of truth for all things financial, the thought leader for strong decision making, and the person your client thinks of every time they reach for their wallet. But achieving that status takes special attention, solid credibility, and regular communication. Your clients won’t wait around for a monthly newsletter.
And you’ve got competition—the web provides an endless source of market news and financial information. Even investors who realize the internet isn’t always reliable will turn to the closest resource in a pinch, but what they really want is credible, relevant information from someone who actually knows them and the industry.
81% of buyers will pay a premium for industry experience. ¹
60% of wealthy individuals rate integrity as the most essential attribute for a successful advisor and 53% rate clear communication as most essential—51% prioritize financial acumen. ²
While it is a huge undertaking to keep each client up to date and financially fit while filtering out the irrelevant and inaccurate noise, accepting that responsibility is an undeniable opportunity to prove your value and your place in the lives of your clients. We want to help you be the gatekeeper of information and the source of knowledge for investors.
Your clients expect to hear from you.
In a large study of advisor clients, 38% said that quality investment and market information was the sign of a credible firm.³
But behavioral factors influence how each client perceives the quality and relevance of news and information. That’s why it’s important to 1) understand how individual clients respond to information and 2) personalize your delivery accordingly. Our approach is designed to help prove your credibility and turn your clients into raving fans.
Humans expect consistent personalization.
Buyers are 48% more likely to consider solution providers that personalize their marketing. 4
The key to effective communication is personalization and consistency. Whether it’s Netflix, Siri, or friends and family, your clients experience individual treatment everywhere they go, physically and digitally. But for one reason or another, many human service providers, including advisors, have yet to prioritize personalization.
This must change.
As the financial advisor, clients must trust you enough to give you a window into all their assets. They should turn to you when faced with huge, personal life decisions. Imagine the impact of checking in consistently (but not relentlessly), providing credible information, and showing each client individual treatment—all while using a nonintrusive and highly relevant approach such as email.
Showing your clients that you think about them, you care what concerns they have, what topics they are interested in, and how they are doing in life builds valuable trust that can truly transform your practice.
Personas are effective.
We believe our proprietary investor personas are an excellent building block for personalized communication and deep client insight,. Our personas are based on principles of behavioral finance, research by Michael Pompian and Richard Thaler, and elements of DISC profiling. Each client’s persona is determined by two factors: willingness to take risk (from conservative to aggressive) and propensity toward behavioral biases (emotional vs. cognitive).
Results from our own core technology (applied in the utility industry by our sister company, Fiveworx) reveal how persona-based messaging can affect human behavior. Using persona-geared messaging to increase customer participation in energy savings programs, Fiveworx saw:
- 150% increase in program participation
- 100% increase in visits to utility program websites
- 100% increase in email click-through rates
- 68% increase in email open rates
We harness the same technology to improve investor (and advisor) outcomes by using behavioral biases and risk preferences to identify investor personas and provide persona-based tips for effective communication.
From a more general communication perspective, below are some statistics that support persona methodology
- Buyers are 48% more likely to consider solution providers that personalize their marketing to address their specific business issues. – ITSMA
- Behaviorally targeted ads are twice as effective as non-targeted ads. – HiP
- [Personalized emails] drive 18 times more revenue than broadcast emails. – HubSpot
- According to Mark W. Schaefer, 3-4 personas usually account for over 90% of a company’s sales. – Business Grow
- A self-service provider of cloud automation solutions implemented a targeted content marketing strategy and saw the following results:
- 124% increase in sales leads
- 55% increase in organic search traffic
- 97% increase in online leads
- 210% increase in North American site traffic – HubSpot
- Using buyer personas in an email campaign improved open rate by 2x and click through rate by 5x. – MLT Creative
- A MarketingSherpa case study found that buyer personas added the following value:
- 171% increase in marketing-generated revenue
- 111% increase in email open rate
- 100% increase in the number of pages visited – Act-On
- In the case of Intel, buyer personas surpassed campaign benchmarks by 75%. They were more cost efficient than the average campaign by 48%. DemandGen Report
- In the case of Thomson Reuter, buyer personas contributed to a 175% increase in revenue attributed to marketing, 10% increase in leads sent to sales, and a 72% reduction in lead conversion time. DemandGen Report
If our philosophy on communication makes sense to you thus far, you may already have some ideas of how investor personas are useful in streamlining consistent, relevant communication, understanding unique client needs, and strengthening advisor-client relationships. Here’s a breakdown of our persona approach:
1. Our Behavioral Risk Survey evaluates each client on their willingness to take risk and propensity toward emotional vs. cognitive behavioral biases to determine their investor persona.
2. We show the client their risk score and some relevant behavioral tips based on their survey answers. For the advisor, we generate a detailed breakdown of how the client answered each question. This report highlights any inconsistencies in the client’s answers, reveals the client’s investor persona, and details potential biases the client may exhibit.
3. We provide persona-based communication tips for the advisor to apply across all channels of contact (face-to-face, phone, email, social media, etc.) to effectively guide clients toward making their best decisions.
1. ITSMA.com, Online Survey, Increasing Relevance with Buyer Personas and B2I Marketing
2. CFAInstitute.org, Value of Premium Wealth Management
3. Factset.com, Smart Wealth Management EBook
4. Protocol80.com, 11 Buyer Persona Statistics That Prove Personas Are Awesome