Diane Hutchings, a financial planner with the Prudential Insurance Company of America in Jacksonville, Fla., offers this advice about selling to women:

I have built my financial services business by targeting the women’s market. Fancy charts or graphs do not impress women. What women want is for the producer to listen to their dreams and provide them with services that will help them bring those dreams to reality through sound financial advice and proper planning. When the producer works with women, forming a one-on-one trusting business relationship is a critical component.

Everyone has financial needs and insecurities. Most women, however, believe they have not adequately taken care of their individual or family finances. They either believe they have done little to protect themselves or think they need a huge amount of money to begin planning for retirement.

Recognizing this, I develop each prospect’s plan with the following factors in mind.

First, I base financial projections to include all the various components the prospect assumes will be in her future (home ownership, dual income, children, college tuition, aging parents, and so on) and discuss some she might not have considered. Second, I view each prospect’s personal information through a fresh lens.

Sure, it’s a time-consuming process to sift through every detail a prospect gives me. But it’s the foundation to her financial future. If I take the one-size-fits-all approach with every prospect’s financial plan, I never will be able to build the one-on-one relationship in which I take pride.

We live in an era of increased longevity, higher health care costs — particularly for assisted living — and a weakening Social Security system. As a result, women recognize they will bear a greater financial responsibility for securing their retirement than generations before them…

As more women seek out and develop professional relationships with financial planners, they will become more accountable for their futures and more confident in their financial choices.

Editor’s note: The preceding is an excerpt from “What women want,” an article that originally appeared in the January 2005 issue of Life Insurance Selling. Click here to read the entire article. The current March 2011 issue of Life Insurance Selling features a cover story on producer Shelley Fiore, who makes a point of helping other women succeed in the life insurance business. Click here to read the article profiling Fiore’s practice.

To read last week’s Words from the Wise, click here.