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How the Growing Demand for Personalization Impacts Financial Advisors

Date: October 26, 2022

As a client-centered business, financial advisory practices have always known that a personal touch is key to a successful business. However, the consumer demand for personalization across industries is reaching new heights as advances in data analytics and other technology make it possible to offer hyper-personalized advertisements, products, and services.

You might already be doing a great job at building solid relationships with your clients, but are you leveraging every strategy possible to make the actual financial services you offer as personalized as modern consumers want?

What The Age of Hyper-Personalization Means for Advisors

In a 2016 Salesforce survey, 51% of respondents said they expected businesses to anticipate their needs and offer relevant recommendations even before first contact. As a result, companies that prioritized personalization generated 40% more revenue than those that didn’t.

In a survey asking consumers to define what personalization meant for them, the top-ranked actions companies should take included things like making relevant recommendations, checking in or following up with customers, and offering targeted or tailored services.

In short, consumers want to feel understood and feel like a priority. As someone already in a business where strong relationships are key, financial advisors are already in the right mindset to make clients feel understood and important. 

But today, you’re competing not just against other advisory practices but against robo-advisors and the growing use of data analytics and algorithms to generate hyper-personalized advice automatically. So your strategy now needs to include ways to elevate your service above what a really smart algorithm loaded with tons of data can do. 

5 Tips for Personalizing Your Service

There are lots of ways to add a personal touch to your service, but to also personalize the service itself, make a point of learning more about what clients and prospects expect and want you do. Here are five ways to do that.

Ask Clients Directly (and Often)

Consider using surveys or feedback forms to get clients’ input on what they would like more of (or less of) from your practice. Do they want clearer explanations of the reasoning behind the advice you’re giving or the trades you are recommending to rebalance their portfolio?

Maybe you have an online platform or account management service they love and want you to add more features to. 

The best way to find out how you can better tailor your service to your clients is to simply ask them point blank what you could be doing better. Even the simple act of regularly asking for their feedback will make clients feel like a higher priority and like you genuinely care about their individual experiences.

Take a Holistic Approach to Financial Planning

Consider health status, family, personal values, and other factors that are typically seen as irrelevant or at least inconsequential when it comes to managing wealth or planning a client’s financial future. 

You likely already make it a priority to get to know your client deeply to foster a strong, personal relationship. Now, take that a step further by making sure you’re crafting a financial plan that includes all of their goals, values, and needs.

You might plan for additional healthcare spending in retirement for a client with a chronic health condition, for example, or tailor an investment portfolio to exclude oil and gas stocks for a client who places a strong emphasis on environmental concerns.

Tie Advice to Financial Goals, Not Numbers

Increasing investment returns is great, but, especially for clients who aren’t going to be touching that money until they retire, it can be a little abstract. To make it feel more relevant and tangible to your client, tie that portfolio growth to their financial goals. 

In an annual review, for example, you might mention how much their portfolio grew over the past year and then, to make it relevant, add how much closer that puts them to their goal of paying for their child’s college education or traveling the world when they retire. You can also use software like Pulse360 to generate a Goals deliverable that you can email at the start of the year. 

Let Clients Review Meeting Agendas in Advance

Ahead of your meetings, email a meeting agenda that lists the main topics you’re planning to cover. Doing this in advance gives your client a chance to add topics, make changes, or ask questions. Even if they don’t have any changes to make, it’s a great way to remind them of what the meeting will cover so they can remember any questions or concerns they wanted to bring up.

Basically, you’re empowering the client to participate in shaping the meeting to their own personal expectations.

Incorporate Data Analytics to Do Market Research

While you’re able to ask existing clients directly about how to better tailor your service to them, what about the prospects you haven’t onboarded yet? What about your target customer base who hasn’t even heard of you yet?

When drafting marketing campaigns or talking with prospects, you can’t risk sounding too generic but you also don’t know enough yet about each individual’s exact needs to come up with a fully personalized pitch.

For those groups, you need to leverage market research to get a clearer picture of what kinds of concerns, goals, and frustrations your target audience has. Using that, you can tailor your marketing and social media messaging to resonate with your ideal client. In fact, you can even send personalized meeting agendas to show the prospects how you are different from generic advisors who don't take that step. Reach out to us to learn how to do this in a systematic way. 

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