Advisor Bios Stink
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I would rather read about your love life than anything in the typical advisor biography. Those bios stink. To liven yours up, read on.
Does your bio sound like this?
Bios are the financial services equivalent of the Miss America pageant. Everyone competing with that fake smile on their face while trying to pretend they’re not competing.
Let me guess, your bio sounds something like this, right?
- You’ve been in the business for 20+ years.
- You worked at [insert name of financial firm that only your competitors recognize] for 10 years before that and were the most powerful person at the place, and ran the whole thing.
- You received a Bachelor of Science in finance.
- You hold the [insert name of financial accreditation that only your competitors recognize] designation.
- You volunteer with a million charities because you are the nicest person in the world.
- You have three kids, a spouse and enjoy traveling with them.
Gimme a break, party people.
The point isn’t to show off.
Don’t you think you’ll get further by giving people something they can relate to? Something, anything, for goodness sake? Even a tiny morsel will do.
Do you know how hard it is psychologically, and by that I mean it’s almost impossible, for prospects to concentrate on these minute details about you?
Wait a minute. I thought advisors were the most client-focused people on the planet! Isn’t that the line you keep touting about how you put the clients’ interest first every time, and you’d put your life on the line to save them from paying high taxes on their retirement savings?
You said that, right?
So why is your bio all about you instead of them?
Them, not you
If you’ve ever listened to any of my webinars, you’ll hear me express this point by doing a little chant and it goes something like this:
- Them Not You
- Them Not You
- Them. Not You.
- Them! Not! You!
I repeat these over and over again to make the point. Nobody cares about you unless you are the Kardashians – and everyone knows why they get attention. It’s not suitable for financial people to act that way.
The two pages on your website that get the most views are the home page and the bios page. And then (if they like you) they go to the services page, and then (if they really really like you) they go to the fees page.
And how much time do you actually think they are going to spend looking at your bio? First of all, they skim it for key facts. So the block text of six lines looking like a brick wall is doing exactly what brick walls do: block any of the info from penetrating through.
The delicate balance
You don’t want to come off like a goofball. I get it. But that doesn’t mean you have to swing to the other extreme of total and utter boredom.
There’s a point in between. You can reach it by doing some of these things:
- In addition to a bio, have a quick video vignette from each person. Just saying hello and I look forward to working with you or something like that;
- I’m not the biggest fan in the world of those animated-type videos, but if you are camera shy then why not hire someone to create a “draw my life” kind of video?
- Use bullet points;
- Break up the bio into short sections; and
- Include a motivational quote.
But it’s more than how the bio actually looks. The content has to be more exciting.
Boring: I have three kids and enjoy traveling with them and my wife/husband
Exciting: Over the past 10 years of travel with my family, we have visited all continents beginning with the letter “A” except for Antarctica.
Boring: I enjoy playing tennis.
Exciting: I’m an avid tennis player with a service toss that rivals Rafael Nadal.
Boring: Prior to my current firm, I worked at <boring name> as the chief investment officer.
Exciting: While I enjoyed my time at blah blah, I wanted something different. I wanted to be more than an investment person; I wanted to be the person who made investments come alive to my clients. That’s why I chose to work at <insert new firm name> as an advisor.
Boring: I hold the <insert boring name designation>
Exciting: I hold the blah blah designation, which I chose to pursue because I was inspired by someone I knew who was extremely successful and the utmost professional and she held this designation. I felt that by pursuing a similar course of study I could aspire to achieve the same.
Get what I’m saying? You don’t have to come across like a bozo. A little humor and personality goes a long way. Or you could push it further if you want. Even if you just made some slight modifications to the bios and the format as I suggest, your bio would be drastically different from every other advisor’s because they’re all the same and boring!
To get attention in a cool way, join my webinar in June on how to get started on YouTube. You can register here.
Sara Grillo, CFA, is a top financial writer with a focus on marketing and branding for investment management, financial planning, and RIA firms. Prior to launching her own firm, she was a financial advisor and worked at Lehman Brothers. Sara graduated from Harvard with a degree in English literature and has an MBA from NYU Stern in quantitative finance.