Getting to know you: Telling your story in your bio

I’ve worked with advisers on all aspects of their practice, and a frequent question is how to get a prospect to work with them. Most advisers are willing to spend significant money and time to achieve this, so they’re stunned when I point out a relatively simple — and free — first step to take.  


Just about every adviser has a place on their website or on social media to post a biography, and most advisers do have something there. But the majority of bios tend to be generic, filled with jargon and acronyms that are meaningless to prospects. In many cases, the bio doesn’t even mention a spouse or children; surely that’s important for someone to know about you?

I’ve had advisers tell me that if the information isn’t focused on expertise or credentials, no one is interested. Here’s why that’s not true.

Think about the first 10 to 15 minutes you spend with a client. If you’re like most advisers, you chat with clients about their families, hobbies and social things before mentioning investments or planning topics. You do that because you know this is fundamentally a relationship business.

So you should be willing to return the favor and give prospects the information they need to decide whether they want to talk with you. Your bio allows prospects to learn about you in an easy, less intimidating way before they pick up the phone or meet with you in person. You should assume people are checking you out, even when they have a referral. They’re looking to gain information to confirm what their friend told them and see if you’re someone they could work with.

[More: Prospecting is the best marketing]

Your personal biography should aim to do three things for you:

1. Differentiate yourself. I’ve had advisers confess they simply looked at what other advisers said on their bio and did the same. But being in a pool of sameness isn’t a good strategy. You want to let potential clients see who you are and what’s important to you.

2. Make it memorable. It’s not enough to differentiate yourself if a prospect can’t remember you. Think of something unexpected that might stay with someone (e.g., any interesting volunteer efforts, sports accomplishments, or artistic endeavors?).

3. Encourage people to connect. A prospect should have three, five, even 10 different reasons they might enjoy speaking with you. This could be hobbies, community involvement, fun facts, sports, kids — whatever is true for you.

Since I’m offering tips to make your bio better, let me also share a few mistakes I’ve seen advisers make.


Focusing on irrelevant past jobs. Does it really matter if you were a branch manager at a firm 20 years ago? Most people don’t know what that means, and you should have more relevant information to talk about since then.

• Listing credentials without explanation. It’s great that you have an AAMS, CRPC, CFA or CLTC, but the general public has little idea of what that means. While people might perceive that more letters is better, they don’t have a framework to decide yours are better. Explain your designations and why they might be important to your prospects. For example, something like “Because so many of my clients are pre-retirees and retirees and might require long-term care one day, I earned my Certified in Long-Term Care designation. Now I have advanced knowledge and expertise to help them.”

• Promoting awards without context. You might be proud you won a particular award, but you need to tell clients why and how you won the award for them to appreciate it. For example, many advisers state that they’re a Five Star Wealth Manager, but that’s all they say. Look at it from the prospect’s point of view: How do they know there aren’t 10 stars, but you only got five of them?

Make it oersonal. Go back and look at your bio. Check to make sure your personal information is telling a story and consider adding a photo or two that shows you, your family or a hobby. Let prospects get to know you and you’re one step closer to their choosing to work with you.

[More: Great service is assumed. A full client experience is not]

Kristine McManus serves as vice president and chief business development officer at Commonwealth Financial Network.

The post Getting to know you: Telling your story in your bio appeared first on InvestmentNews.

Andrew is half-human, half-gamer. He’s also a science fiction author writing for BleeBot.

Andrew Vincent
Andrew is half-human, half-gamer. He's also a science fiction author writing for BleeBot.
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