- Be prepared to rethink how and with who you do business
We are all guilty of operating in our comfort zone, especially if we’ve achieved some success doing things a certain way. “What if I try something different and it doesn’t work?” – looms large in our minds. But historically it is the risk takers who win big. We see financial advisors on a daily basis who say they would like to grow their business and they like the idea of pursuing a female market but when faced with new and different ways of prospecting, especially if it might involve cost, they back right off. They continue to do things the way they always have and hope for better or different results. So be prepared to step out of your comfort zone because prospecting for female clients means that you have to be ready to invest your time and money to learn how to reach women on a personal level. The good news is that studies have shown that advisors who take the time to attract female clients and develop a relationship with them have no fear of losing them to another financial advisor.
- Brand your practice as “female friendly”
Speaking about stepping out of your comfort zone – brand your practice as “female friendly.” Consider this: women control 1/3 of all assets and that’s likely to grow to 67% of all financial assets – yet 73% are unhappy with the service they get, 87% claim they can’t find an FA they can relate to and 80% of widows leave their existing FA’s when their husbands die. Women represent a huge market – women are no longer a “niche” market – they are the market. And the female market is “ripe for the picking” for advisors who are willing to take the time to understand what women want and deliver services that relate to their lives. The caveat here is, “you can’t fake it.”
- Learn how to prospect – and it’s no how you think
Prospecting is no longer just about hobnobbing on the golf course or glad handing at social functions. Successful advisors understand that an ongoing, sophisticated and organized effort is required. The first step is to engage her, be honest about your own skills and interests, apart from managing money. If you already have a client base that includes some high net worth women and you would like to grow that sector and you personally understand and enjoy music, then organizing prospecting events at musical performances makes sense. You are very likely to attract like-minded. That immediately gives you a base for building a personal relationship outside of just her portfolio. Of course if you hate concerts but love tennis, do an event around tennis – it doesn’t matter what you pick – the key is being genuine.
- Learn from the top sales people Let’s face it, you may be the best money manager on the block, but if you can’t sell your services or yourself – you’ll be left behind. What’s your process? Do you dive right into talking about your investment methods, or worse still, boast about your firm’s investment performance? Many advisors feel that the best way to sway clients is to demonstrate their “winning” strategy. They are convinced that everyone wants to hear how successful they are. But that is totally not the case when it comes to women. Women assume you know your trade going in or they likely wouldn’t be there. What they are looking for is an authentic connection with you. So take a page from winning sales people’s play book. Be honest, ask questions, be interested — in your first meeting (for sure) you should be saying, “tell me about yourself and what’s important in your life” and then actually listen and act upon what she says.
- Put your ego in your pocket Refer back to number 4 – the best sales people will tell you, meetings should never be about you or your product – it should always be about the client and what they need and that means you have to start by asking questions and listening. No matter how tempting it might be to talk about how good you are at your job and the amazing returns you can achieve, remember it’s not about making yourself look good, it’s about making her feel good about herself.
Take away: Be open and prepared to relearn and rethink how and with who you do business. Don’t be driven by your own ego, be authentic and listen.