Every person makes decisions differently. Some act fast and unilaterally, while others take their time and adopt a more collaborative approach. When you’re trying to communicate with business leaders or clients, it’s important to not only understand how they make their decisions but also to tailor your messages accordingly so as to maximize your chances for success. Simply put, static one-size-fits-all content just doesn’t work. Instead, you need dynamic content that’s always customized, not just in terms of who that person is, but also how he or she makes decisions. A great message, with the right tone, makes a world of difference.

In this post, we’ll review the four styles of decision-making and then look at how you can incorporate that information into your content creation efforts.

The 4 Styles of Decision-Making

While decision-making is a highly personalized thing, broadly speaking there are four main approaches that business leaders take to making them. Here are the main characteristics of each:

1. Directive decision-making.

People who adopt a directive style of decision-making tend to be rationale, but autocratic. Typically, they rely heavily on their own knowledge and experience to inform their decisions, thinking about the short-term implications of choosing one option over another. While they rarely consult others and don’t usually have all of the information necessary to make the best decisions possible as a result, the upside is that tend to get make their decisions very quickly. Providing this profile with options is the best way to catch their attention.

2. Conceptual decision-making.

If you’re a conceptual decision-maker, you’ll generally take a more social approach to weigh your options. Conceptual decisions makers tend to take risks and like to brainstorm lots of different ideas. They’re also more creative about solving problems and generally adopt a long-term view of the impact their decisions will have. Arming this personality with links to thought-provoking materials will satisfy their natural curiosity.

3. Analytic decision-making.

Not surprisingly, analytic decision-makers want to get the whole story before deciding what to do. They rely on direct observation, data, and facts to support their decisions, and regularly seek information from others. While a very well-rounded approach, the downside is that it also tends to be very time-consuming. Consider layering in a set of detailed metrics for this decision making style.

4. Behavioral decision-making.

Behavioral decision-makers are group-oriented and interested in ensuring that everyone works well together. However, rather than brainstorm ideas, they typically present a group with several options to choose from so that they can discuss the pros and cons of each. As a result, behavioral decision-makers tend to consider lots of opinions and points of view as part of their process. Proactively providing benefit statements to the extended team will enable this personality type to champion the decision to the broad team.

As a financial professional, think about your clients and how they make their decisions. Incorporating any insights, you can glean from your interactions with them into your content will serve you well.

Tailoring Your Content for Decision Makers

While there’s no right or wrong way to tailor your content, you do want to ensure that every message you send out to clients has been written in the best way possible to engage that person. Typically, content creators work with detailed personas that talk about who their different audiences are, what they care about, and what issues keep them up at night. What you don’t often find in personas, however, is how those people make their decisions.

Yet knowing how people make decisions is a critical insight. It can tell you whether you need to help them validate what they already know or load them up with new facts and figures. It can be a clue as to whether to create content that enables broad-based decisions or that’s more inspirational and shows some creativity. Simply put, it’s another dimension that will allow you to craft messaging that resonates and ultimately drive greater engagement.

The Personalization Challenge and How to Overcome It

It goes without saying that anytime you need to create a lot of content, and you want it all to be personalized for your individual audiences, you’re going to run into a problem. Creating personalized content at scale is a tall order. With the right sales enablement platform, for example, you can automate the process by creating dynamic materials that add the appropriate sections to deliver both the right message and the right tone.

With a tool like Seismic, sorting through all of that content, finding the right components, and pulling it all together is easy.

Creating personalized content that’s tailored to how your clients make decisions is just one way to increase engagement. To learn about some others, register for our upcoming webinar, “Accelerate Your Firm’s Client Engagement Strategy.”