Despite the stereotypes that still cling to the financial-services industry, the fact is that the personalities and skill-sets that once defined stockbrokers as aggressive salesmen working the phones and pushing product through the old boys’ network are becoming obsolete.
The emphasis now is on peddling advice, and that requires a much kinder, gentler–dare we say female–approach. “Today’s advisors need to listen, be patient, and show empathy for their clients, all characteristics typically associated with women,” says Steve Cundell, owner of the Cornerstone Group, a management-consulting firm that specializes in helping companies recruit and retain key staff. That means dumping the frat-house persona and making significant efforts toward attracting–and keeping–women.
During the late-1990s’ labor crunch, financial-services firms went on a spending spree to recruit top advisors, plying them with huge signing bonuses, fancy cars, and in-office massages.
“Money, customers, and prospects were just pouring in, and as a result, the sales force developed a lot of bad habits.”