Many women actually want to hear from financial advisors.[@@]

Years of investment market volatility have given consumers in all demographic segments an increased interest in professional financial help. But when researchers hired by Prudential Financial Inc., Newark, N.J., polled 1,134 U.S. women between the ages of 25 and 68 in February, they found that the trend was especially pronounced among women: 82% of survey participants agreed that they “need help” with learning more about personal financial issues.

Another 32% of the women who participated said they “will definitely/probably” seek help from professional financial advisors in the upcoming 12 months.

More than one-third of the participants said they prefer to learn from advisors, as opposed to brochures or the Internet, about topics such as long term care insurance, estate plans, retirement planning and investment selection.

So who has the best chance to tap women’s hunger for financial advice?

Although about half of Prudential’s new producers are women or members of minority groups, Caroline Feeney, vice president of recruiting and development at the company’s Prudential Insurance Company of America unit, emphasizes that selling to women is an equal-opportunity game.

In general, “anybody’s that taking the time to develop a relationship will do well,” Feeney says. “It’s not a transactional sale.”

Some women may prefer to buy individual stocks online or call a rep over the telephone simply to make sure that a trade went through. But surveys have shown that a majority of women want advisors who can help give them a thorough understanding of what they’re doing with their money, Feeney says.

Prudential tries to help its career agents and field managers tap the market by offering special training programs focusing on the demographic segment, Feeney says.