“Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.”
- Ronald E. Osborn
For some of us, selling in the female market is an area of growth that we have not consistently tried to master. The question always seems to be, “Why haven’t we been successful and why should we even try?”
Most of us know that the major companies in our business have diversity market initiatives and most of them are specific in including women in that separate diversity market. Is this a new thing? No. I’ve worked in this industry for almost 30 years and the first thing I learned in training was that the female market is untapped. However, the statistics and the focus on women as consumers has definitely changed over that 30-year period.
According to LIMRA and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of women in the labor force has just about doubled over the last 50 years. Women influence a vast majority of financial decisions and control almost half the wealth in the U.S. Women are also growing faster as new business owners in the U.S. than men. Approximately 80 percent of women will live an average of 20 years alone, controlling their own finances, as a result of either widowhood or divorce. All of these facts substantiate the “why” of being a part of this growing and unending market. But simple marketing – giving a woman a brochure or sending her a letter – is not the answer. Learning to effectively sell to women will make your reward happen.
The first tip is to recognize that selling to women really is different than selling to men. Men and women look at the retirement experience with largely different views. Men are independent, while a woman’s focus tends to be spiritual. Men see strong finances contributing to a long life, while women see supportive relationships and spiritual awareness and involvement as the answer to living longer. Most men live for themselves in retirement and women need to contribute to society. Many men want to move to a new retirement location while women want to remain close to family and friends. Most of the men will work in retirement – women rarely work.
However, Geneviere Bos, publisher of Pink magazine, tells us that women are not retiring – they are rewiring. Bos says women are not realistic about the amount of money they need to retire and even though they think the ideal age to retire is 57, they are actually working and retiring on average at age 64. Women do still worry that they don’t have enough for retirement, while many men think they are very prepared. But here’s the big statistic: Men still have the high net worth compared to women, by an almost 2-1 margin. Many women will eventually inherit that net worth and need an advisor to help them invest it. Women are also more likely to seek financial advice than men.
The following tips will help you sell to women:
- Women need to feel secure and need to trust you as their advisor. You need to demonstrate your credibility.
- Women need to know the concept, not the details.
- Provide excellent service.
- Listen to their wants and needs, and talk with them, not at them.
- Don’t be condescending or pushy.
Your challenge is to make a commitment to grow your female client business. An easy way would be to develop relationships with the female family members of your male clients, especially those who own businesses. The wives (or daughters) will one day be your clients.