Women don’t care how much you know about investing

There are lots of web sites advising women how to go about finding a financial advisor, not surprisingly, most are pretty consistent:

  • Review the advisor’s qualifications and do a background check
  • Ask about their track record and past performance
  • Find out how they get paid
  • Read the fine print/the company code of ethics
  • Inquire what size of client assets they serve

While recommendations like these are well intentioned and have some validity, the reality is, this is simply not the way women choose financial advisors.

To begin with, most women looking for a financial advisor start the process by asking colleagues or friends and family for recommendations. Once they have a few names they may pick one, two or more to interview. Knowing that someone they trust recommended the person they are interviewing gives them a level of comfort.

Going into the meeting, women rarely ask for credentials, they don’t care how much you know about investing. Whether or not it is wise, they simply assume that the professionals they are considering have the appropriate certification and know their craft. What they are really looking for is an “emotional” fit.

Consider the case of Sally. At 38, well into a successful career and realizing she would never marry, Sally determined that she needed help managing the assets and savings she had accumulated. She turned to colleagues for recommendations and chose three potential candidates to interview. She told us, “they all seemed equally competent.” Following much agonizing, she eventually went with her gut and chose the advisor she was the most comfortable with, the one who, like her, was an avid skier. She explained that he had great adventure-holiday pictures in his office that she could relate to and he seemed genuinely interested in her life, not just how much money she had to invest.

Sally is not unusual in this. Women tend to look for an emotional connection and a person they can build a relationship with. They understand that performance is important but it is rarely the deciding factor.Take away

By all means, be prepared to answer questions about qualifications and performance – just don’t assume that your answers in those areas will be her primary criteria for choosing you. You have to win women over first “emotionally”.  As Teddy Roosevelt said, “it is only once they know how much you care that they care about how much you know”…in this case investing.

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