The financial industry, probably more so than any other, is and has been traditionally focused on performance. In a male dominated field, performance is the measuring stick used to determine value, value of assets, value of individuals, and value of organizations.
It is no wonder that financial advisors talk instinctively about their and their organizations’ performance when meeting with new clients. In fact, almost by definition they believe their sole responsibly to their clients is to provide financial advice or guidance to help them reach their financial goals.
They do so in the mistaken belief that “performance” is the primary motivator for everyone selecting a financial advisor. After all the thinking goes, “if we can produce better returns than the next guy, why wouldn’t you select us?”
But any advisor who has been around long enough might tell you it’s not that simple though they might be hazy on the details. The reality is that women, in particular, rarely, if ever, consider past performance as the most important factor when they are looking for an advisor – and very few even have stated financial goals. For women financial goals play a backseat role to their emotional goals. They aren’t likely to get excited about a 10% return on equity, but paying off their mortgage three years early or helping kids with tuition is very attractive indeed. One may not be possible without the other but it is the emotional reasons they will consider as their priority.
So how do you attract female clients? It’s not about trying to impress them with your performance. For them it is a given that you know your trade and will work on their behalf. If they didn’t believe that, they probably wouldn’t be in your office to begin with.
Women want to be listened to and treated with respect. They are looking for advisors who are sincere and authentic, advisors who take the time to learn about them and build a true relationship, not just a financially expedient relationship.
Recently we interviewed a young woman who had come into some money and was looking for a financial advisor. On friends and colleagues recommendations, she interviewed three. She told us they all seemed to be equally successful, so we asked her how she made her final selection. She said she chose the advisor who made her feel the most comfortable. Rather than tout his own credentials, she told us, he ask about her life, her interest, her hopes and dreams for the future – not her financial goals.
Take away: Listen and act on women’s life goals to understand what you need to deliver on the financial side to make those dreams a possibility.