By Sara Gilbert
I hear a lot that I should have a different approach with female investors; let it be prospects or the wives of my clients. Is this really true or is it simply another business myth?
You are probably all too aware already that women don’t think like men, but this is never more evident than in the area of money. Research shows that approximately 70% of women fire their financial advisor within a year of being widowed. Why? Because they did not feel that their deceased husband’s advisor was their advisor. The advisor did not take the time to understand, serve and support her.
Could you be making the same mistake? If so, it’s time to tailor your approach to meet, and even exceed the needs of your female clients.
What does it mean to tailor your approach to female investors? First, throw out the idea of the male needs to “fix things”. Start by listening and the rest should flow well. But, if you were to ask any woman what she wants from her advisor, she would likely tell you something like this:
Talk to me
I don’t want pre-set answers; I want to have a dialogue. Help me to feel at ease asking questions, and please ask me questions about my life events and changing needs. I am all about the process, not the tasks.
Treat me as an equal
Look me in the eye when you talk to me. When you are meeting me with my husband, don’t direct all your comments to him; share your time equally with me.
Educate me, but leave out the jargon
Explain complex solutions in plain English and provide concrete examples. Use scenarios that I can relate to and that reflect my values and goals. Don’t use language to exclude me from the conversation you are having with my husband.
Provide an agenda for our meetings, along with checklists and a roadmap. Schedule frequent comprehensive follow-ups. I like to be prepared. I may call you to clarify points before the meeting.
Security is important to me. I want short-term simplicity and long-term stability. Perhaps I’m single and wholly self-reliant, and if I’m married, there is a good chance I’ll outlive my husband. In either case, I want to be reassured that I won’t be a burden to others in my old age.
Assemble a team of experts
I appreciate professionals who take a team approach. I don’t want you just to provide what you can and leave me to fill in the gaps. I want you to help me connect with the right people who can meet all my needs.
As a financial professional, it is imperative that you understand your female clients’ needs and focus on a relationship-based approach when discussing their financial issues. Both your business and you will be better for it.
Sara Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker and is founder of Strategist Business Development. She provides coaching for financial advisors to help them find success in key business development areas including: market positioning, marketing and communications, team management and client experience enhancement.