By

The “superwoman” of today presents great challenges and opportunities for the financial services professional. The time-management balancing act of career, family and finances often equates to an 18-hour plus day for these individuals.

Todays women participate in short- and long-term financial decisions that impact both their immediate and extended family members, such as aging parents.

In fact, a recent study by Newark, N.J.-based Prudential Financial revealed that womens financial decisions are no longer limited to just the family budget. Instead, their role now includes issues such as saving for retirement, their childrens education, passing on money to loved ones and understanding the need for long term care insurance.

The female business owner has to juggle her own retirement goals, business continuation and disability concerns with obligations to her employees.

Retirement and life insurance needs may have to be balanced against educational funding and LTC for a parent.

Wealth transfer requires research and professional advice on wills and estate planning.

An unexpected divorce or death of a spouse can be devastating, and disability and business continuation planning can be the difference between a thriving business and financial nightmare.

Womens awareness of these issues and the necessity to put a plan in place have grown as their responsibilities have increased, but taking action still lags behind. By identifying and focusing on these different responsibilities, financial services professionals are better able to tailor their marketing efforts.

But how do we reach these prospects, educate them and promote action once weve identified them?

Here are a few approaches:

Female Business Owners Seminar. Using a female attorney as a co-presenter, do one or more seminars on topics such as estate planning and long term care needs. This approach allows you to reach more clients in one setting and provides networking opportunities for your guests.

Smaller groups (25 or fewer) of existing clients mixed with new prospects tend to promote more interaction. A personal story shared with the group by one of the attendees is a powerful reinforcement of the message you are attempting to convey.

The attorney gains clients just beginning estate planning with requirements such as wills and trusts, while you supply the funding vehicles.

Invite the director of a local assisted living facility to speak briefly about services available, which will supplement your LTC presentation. This allows the facility to do some local marketing for their facility as well.

Once youve generated questions and ideas to get the participants thinking about their own and their loved ones future, a follow-up individual appointment starts the planning and implementation process.

Network With Other Female Sales Professionals. Networking with other female sales professionals with strong client bases outside of financial services allows you to begin a mutually beneficial referral program. Those offering women-oriented products offer excellent partnerships that are particularly attractive.

Plan a joint program that incorporates both of your products. For example, conduct a fashion show with a local clothing store and incorporate a financial services presentation during some relaxed downtime.

These events are great ways to stimulate interest, and although they tend to be longer term prospecting systems, they usually prove to be worth the wait.

Mortgage Brokers and Real Estate Agents. The initial lead in these relationships may be for something as simple as a homeowners policy. New homeowners need mortgage insurance, disability policies and other property and casualty products. But handled properly, it can lead to a long-term relationship that continues throughout the various life stages of a client.

Womens Expos/Fairs. With topics ranging from bridal shows to womens physical and financial health, the major bonus here is that prospects come to you. If someone has taken the time to come to the event, she is usually in search of information.

In addition, by walking around the expo and visiting booths, you can build relationships with the other exhibitors. These events require more marketing and follow-up, but can also uncover good prospects.

School and Community Programs. These programs allow you to give back to the community, while also providing exposure to the family market for you and your business. Local groups are often looking for speakers at their monthly meetings, and this provides another opportunity to meet new prospects.

The follow-up individual appointments may present a challenge as far as convenient scheduling. But, business owners pulled in countless directions in the workplace often find a breakfast or after-hours meeting a nice repose and welcome the addition to their schedules.

The busy mom may do better meeting for lunch, post childrens bedtime or on weekends. Being flexible on where and when you meet will make it a productive and rewarding experience for both you and the client/prospect.

By taking the time to educate this growing segment of the market and providing them with the tools and products they need to meet their goals, you are helping them secure a more sound financial future and growing your own business at the same time.

is a registered representative with Prudential Financial Inc., Newark, N.J. Her e-mail address is margaret.maruzo@prudential.com.


Reproduced from National Underwriter Life & Health/Financial Services Edition, January 13, 2003. Copyright 2003 by The National Underwriter Company in the serial publication. All rights reserved.Copyright in this article as an independent work may be held by the author.