The key to winning with women is understanding the differences between men and women, uncovering the opportunities and building a relationship.
While there are many similarities between how men and women invest, there are important differences.
Generally men tend to compartmentalize investing as an activity separate from their lives. Women, on the other hand, see investing in terms of their whole lives and not an isolated activity. For women, money is not so much a measure of their “self-worth” or “success” but it is about “choice.”
Another difference is that women downplay their knowledge about investing, unlike men, who more often than not overestimate their level of understanding. A financial advisor who is paying attention needs to point out that she probably knows far more about investing than she realizes. They may not even realize the implications of their knowledge but when Lululemon’s founder offended women saying some shouldn’t wear their yoga pants, many of these women boycotted the store sending their stock into a tailspin and when Walmart voluntarily raised their minimum wage, women recognized it as a “good” company.
The good news for advisors is that women are less opaque than men. If you want to know something, just ask them. They will tell you. But be ready to listen. Don’t ask, if you really don’t want an answer, and, above all, don’t ask if you’re not willing to give them what they want.
Remember, it is up to you, their advisor, to adapt your strategy to their style. If you fulfill their need to understand and make good decisions, without trying to impress them with your knowledge, and you treat them as a partner in the process, they are less likely to question your recommendations or second-guess you and more likely to refer you to their friends.
Building a relationship
Women want to establish a relationship with their financial advisor. They want and need advice and appreciate their advisor far beyond the rate of return on their portfolio.
They establish a relationship by connecting on a human level first: what do you have in common – skiing, a charitable cause, an elderly parent, or a disabled child. Women also want to know they have a role, an important role, to play in their relationship with you as their financial advisor. For many of today’s women with money, they don’t want someone to take care of them (when it comes to money), they want someone who will help them understand what they have and how what they are doing will help them have choices in the future.
Women build relationships with people who respect them, their point of view, their need for information and understanding. Give it to them.
Take away: Women will be the best clients you’ll ever have if you take the time to appreciate their unique needs, understand their need to be listened to and build a relationship that goes beyond the money.