Over the past few years, many financial service companies have come to the realization that women are an integral part of the marketplace. Women represent 51% of the population, head 45% of households with over $600,000 in assets, influence 85% of consumer purchases and, by 2010, are expected to control 60% of the nation’s wealth. Given these statistics, it’s in your best interest to ensure your financial practice is inviting to women.
Women versus men
The first step is to realize that women communicate differently than men. Women process information by asking questions and researching. The financial advisor is part of this research process. A female client may ask you for a recommendation and then continue to ask questions once you have made a recommendation.
While this may be frustrating to some advisors, the best solution is to help her along her research process by providing additional information, references and resources. Women don’t like being “sold.” Instead, they prefer that you work directly with them to ensure they understand your recommendations, why you are making them and what they mean for them in the short- and long-term.
In general, women also have a different relationship with money than men. When it comes to investment strategies, women want what the money can do for them and their families: provide security, safety and independence. Men, who are often more competitive by nature, typically want the prestige of having the best investment or a product with lots of bells and whistles.
Make sure you have a user-friendly website. Women like to research before they meet with a new advisor. You can help build a female client’s trust in you by providing thorough biographical information on your website, including profiles on all the employees at your firm. This sends an important message that you value all your employees and that everyone works as a team.
You can also make your office more welcoming to women by making a few small changes. Don’t put all your sales awards in prominent places. Although you may be proud of your achievements, this may tell the female client you are just out to make a sale rather than build a relationship. Instead, display your awards for service or for the charities you are involved in. Photographs of your children and grandchildren in visible places remind her that you are a caring person–not just a salesperson.