How to work with the Verifier, one of five personas we identified through behavioral research.
Increasing wallet share with existing clients is one of the best ways to grow assets under management. But just as each of your clients has their own unique needs and goals, they also have their own emotional factors that influence decisions about allocating assets with advisors. What motivates one client to give you more money may not resonate with another client.
To better understand the factors that can influence these decisions, FlexShares recently conducted behavioral research into clients’ existing beliefs, fears, past experiences, and capacity for trust. Our results suggest that it’s possible to segment clients into five distinct personas based on how their emotions drive behavior and decision-making. These personas range from risk-averse investors who demand a high level of control over their financial lives (“Protectors”) to those who happily delegate much of their financial decision-making (“Simplifiers”).
To show how these characteristics affect client behavior, let’s explore one of these personas: the “Verifier.”
The Verifier operates under the guiding principle of trust, but they also verify. They generally appreciate the value provided by their advisor and want a consolidated wealth management solution — but only when they feel they’ve built a solid relationship.
Deciding which advisor has earned their trust (and assets) hinges on excellent client experience. Verifiers are seeking a proactive and comprehensive experience. They expect their advisor to be highly qualified and responsive to their needs and seek detailed conversations around financial planning and long-term investing strategies. Spending your time and effort to build this trust is worth it, though, because Verifiers are the persona most likely to increase the amount they invest with their advisors.
Here’s a hypothetical example: Kurt has assets of roughly $5 million and invests more than 85% of those assets with a single advisor, Cathy. However, that percentage grew over the course of five years as Kurt gained confidence in Cathy’s planning approach — which included her ability to look ahead to future life changes to prepare appropriate strategies well in advance, along with timely suggestions for managing taxes. However, the relationship isn’t built only on financial matters; thoughtful gestures, such as sending a gift basket to mark Kurt’s retirement, helped strengthen the relationship.
Verifiers are relatively easy for advisors to identify: FlexShares’ behavioral research estimates that roughly four in 10 advisory clients can be categorized as Verifiers. What’s more, these clients are relatively transparent when it comes to their plans for allocating assets with service providers. That’s in direct contrast to other personas, such as Competitors, who are less forthcoming and tend to spread their assets across multiple advisors or manage it themselves.
To connect with these clients, focus on delivering a top-tier experience centered around long-term planning above and beyond the investment portfolio. Work to identify the gaps in these clients’ financial plans, whether it’s recommending a specific insurance policy or identifying a piece of their estate plan that needs updating. But also make sure to add that personal touch that makes these clients feel valued. Doing so can help you not only strengthen relationships with these clients but also increase the amount of their money that you manage over time.