When my kids were young, their favorite book was “Princess Backwards.” It’s the story of a princess who lived in a land where everything was done backwards, while she walked and talked forward. However, since she was “different”, they called her Princess Backwards. Of course, in the end, she saved the kingdom and the moral of the story was that “different wasn’t wrong; it was just different.”
Perhaps an odd story to relate to financial advisors more concerned with the “serious” business of managing money than fairy tales. But this story comes to mind every time we speak to a group of advisors who are still busy either denying or failing to recognize that female investors are different than the men they are used to dealing with. In fact, sometimes even the female investor we talk to rail against being labeled different. But they shouldn’t… the last line in “Princess Backwards” says, “…different is a lovely thing to be”.
Consider the success of retailers who celebrate, understand and adjust their store layouts to cater to men’s and women’s different approach to shopping. They know that, when it comes to shopping, generally women prefer to “browse” while men “hunt”. This understanding serves everyone well. The retailers make more sales and the shoppers are happy.
So why so much angst in the financial world when we say women are “different”?
The problem stems from the misconception that we believe women are all the same and that we advocate treating them, as one article put it, “like Beanie Babies in La La Land”. Of course this couldn’t be further from the truth.While women are of course not all the same what they do have in common is that they want to be treated with the same respect men have always enjoyed – that includes being treated as an individual, not being condescended to, not being stereotyped, not being given the same templated financial plan everyone gets. It seems obvious and simple enough and perhaps therein lies the problem.
Many advisors think they get it. “I know women,” one advisor tells us, “I’m married to one and have two daughters.” He went on to tell us (nudge, nudge, wink, wink) that he knows all about how to “pander” to women. If he only knew how poorly this attitude reflected on him and his practice.
Yet, in the midst of all this there are financial advisors who truly understand and embrace that female investors are different. They are the ones who leave their ego at the door and make the time to learn what women really want. They are the ones who are growing their practice at an unpresented rate and benefit the most from the financial powerhouses that women represent.
They are also the advisors who will eat the lunch of all those who’d rather be right than successful when it comes to serving the most significant group of people with considerable wealth to manage.
For more information on how to win with women, visit the Advisor Education section our website www.strategymarketing.ca