Forget about being “superman” or the advisor who always has the answer. Women aren’t looking for perfection. They want advisors who are sincere and authentic.
Authentic means “trustworthy” and nothing is more important when it comes to financial advice. But, many times we mean ‘making investment decisions that are in the best interest of a client’. For women, an authentic advisor is true to who and what he is as a person. If you can be honest about yourself, women can trust you with everything else, including doing the right thing on their behalf.
Sincere means being “honest and open” – not pretending to be something you are not. This is authenticity from the receiving end – the client’s perspective.
When women are looking for an advisor, they mean a partner where she has an important role to play in the relationship. It means you value her opinion and treat her with respect because that’s who you are.
Women understand that sometimes there are screw-ups but the authentic advisor ‘admits the error’ (doesn’t blame staff). For women, it is less about the error and more about how it’s handled once it’s discovered.
Here are 3 discussions that show you are sincere and authentic and that will resonate with women (just make sure you act on all of them):
- Open dialogue – “I will always speak my mind and expect you as my client to do the same – that means you have to tell me what’s going on in your life so that I can do the best job for you. And if there’s something that you don’t understand or believe in, you must tell me.”
- Errors happen – “My clients are very important to me and I do everything I can to always do the right thing for each one. But I’m not perfect and we’ll likely make mistakes at some point. When we do, you’ll hear directly from me and I’ll tell you what we’re doing to make it right on your behalf.”
- Service levels – “If the service I provide isn’t up to what you expect, I’d like to hear from you about it, not as a result of your account being transferred out. I’m a tough guy and I can take it. Just say, ‘this service isn’t working for me’ or ‘I’d like us to meet more (or less) often’ or ‘when you talk, I don’t understand what you’re saying. Could you say in plain English’ or ‘can we talk about other things at our meetings than rates of return and asset allocation’.”
Unfortunately, authenticity may be more challenging than perfection for some advisors.
Take away: Women want advisors who are authentic and sincere. Invite women to speak their minds about their lives and the service you provide. You can then speak your mind to them and admit errors when they are made. It’s called a relationship.