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Understand Your Customers: Personality Types (and How to Communicate with Them)

Understand Your Customers: Personality Types (and How to Communicate with Them)

Reaching customers with targeted communication

Imagine serving a juicy steak to a die-hard vegetarian. The dish may be cooked perfectly, but for those who don't eat meat, it's just not the right menu.

It is the same with your customer communication: It should be tailored to the individual customer type if you want to be successful. In this article, we will tackle how you can manage to place your messages and offers with customers. In all future customer communication, figuratively speaking, the steak should end up with a meat lover and the vegetarian with a fancy vegetable curry. The right dish for everyone.

As a financial advisor, your clients can be very different, and the issues involved are often complex. On top of that, money is generally a very sensitive topic. This requires a lot of empathy and flexibility when communicating with your clientele.

As a first step, you can segment your customers according to several criteria like personality, gender and age. And in the second step, you can adapt your communication to the respective segment.

Personality Structures – Methods

You don't have to do psychology here, but it’s essential to get clear about the individual personality structures of your clients, if you want to get through to them with your messages.

There are many ways to classify people according to their personalities and each one of them has its own advantages and disadvantages. Whichever method you choose, its entirely up to you and a matter of personal preference. It is however important that you choose a method and master it Your findings about the personality of your customers should be documented in your customer database or CRM and it is best to be able to filter them, depending on the type.

In order to show you a working method, we will use the Biostructural Analysis as an example. This method is intended to assess the relative strength of the personality components "feeling", "emotion" and "ratio". Of course, very few people will fit entirely into just one category. All will have parts of all the three traits. But in different weightings. You can then divide your customers into three different types:

  • The rational type

This type is factually oriented, with an affinity for numbers and IT. An example would be a middle-aged entrepreneur or manager, mostly male. He maintains his own Excel spreadsheets to monitor his assets and can handle software programs with ease. Most of the time he is somewhat distant, analyzing everything carefully and extensively.

If you want to reach a customer who leans toward the rational side, you should provide numbers, data and facts. They usually have an overview and control over their assets. For these, often busy people, added value would be an offer that can save them time. For example, a software program that can save them the hassle of maintaining own Excel sheets on the status of their private finances.

  • The intuitive type

People in this category are often caring and social. They are interested in other people and in interaction. They can quickly reach strangers and lively exchanges are essential for them. For example, a HR manager – without wanting to deal in stereotypes here. These people rely on their gut feeling. Most of the time they are not particularly interested in numbers and software programs, but in a good conversation.

When you communicate with this type of customer, you do it on a very personal level. They are interested in you and your life and would like it, if you open up to them. Presentations should contain images that trigger feelings. A grandfather, for example, walking with his grandson hand in hand for the topic on retirement provision. Talk to them about financial issues that affect their family. Whether it's safeguarding the surviving dependents, financing the education of their children or grandchildren or similar.

  • The emotional type

Customers who are very dominant can be volatile and emotionally driven. They decide quickly on a whim and love challenges. An older family patriarch could be such a persona.

These competitive leaders need to be treated subtly so that they don't feel like they are being patronized. But they are certainly susceptible to a "hot stock tip" or they will see added value if you offer them the opportunity to manage their own assets, in a more modern and up to date way, than their friends do.

The next time you write a letter, for example, send out three differently designed and written messages to your three customer groups, reflecting the way of thinking above. You will see that if you reach them through the right channel, your messages will be much better received!

Men are from Mars, Women from Venus

The title of Cris Evatt's non-fiction book is a little bold, but in many cases it’s on point. Above all, it wants to show us one thing: Men and Women tick differently. Of course, there are highly rational and dominant women and very emotional and social men, but they are not the norm. Most women would react more strongly to a more emotional approach and social issues than men. Take this into account in your acquisition campaigns.

Let's take as an example, an event on wealth succession: In the invitation for women, you can especially argue on how to protect their family and avoid disputes. For men, it might be of more interest (on average) to focus on factual aspects, such as tax handling of donations or allowances. It’s the same topic but highlighted in two very different ways!

Generation X, Y, Z

Be aware of the different needs of your customers according to their age group! Especially those of Generation Z – because these customers are now in their early twenties and on the way of becoming interesting, affluent clientele. For them, digital goes without saying and they want one thing above all: fun.

If you want to offer these customers added value or simply reach them, you have to offer a digital service that focus on Gamification. You won’t get them on board with Numeric data and presentations with uninspiring graphics featuring X and Y axes or an uninspiring banking app.

The topics that move this generation are also different. Climate change, sustainability, mobility, i.e. topics that don’t directly relate to finance - these should also be considered when approaching this customer group.

The initiatives above are best suited for acquisition and support for an existing customer pool. A different approach is recommended for new customers.

Think in personas

With this technique you can define your target customers more precisely. Who do you want to win as a customer? Female, male, what age, what nationality? etc. Draw out a sketch of this persona - even if you are not the greatest artist. This makes visualization easier. What is her name, where does she live, what does she do for a living, what hobbies does she have, how much does she earn etc.? When you have this person in front of you, find out what are their needs. And then think about what specific services you can offer. The way you will address them in the future, will be based on that criteria.

Emily Jones, who is 27 years old and has just started working in a US law firm in Munich after her state exams in London, needs a different approach than Jake Davies from Edinburgh, who wants to hand over his heating construction business at 55 years of age. They have different needs and life goals.

Putting yourself in the shoes of your target customers in order to understand them better is much easier if you imagine them in a very real way. Only when you recognize the needs of your customers and offer suitable solutions via a "channel", on which the message is delivered correctly, you will be successful in Customer Acquisition. Either with your existing clients or new ones.

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