What NOT to say to women with wealth

When thinking about high net worth women, “where do I find them?” is the question we are asked most often. Actually, it’s not that hard to find them – wealthy women are not nearly as elusive as you might think. But the “where to find” is just the beginning and the topic for another blog because, as it turns out, the trickier part for most advisors is what to say when they do find these women.As unbelievable as it seems, not so long ago, I was cold-called by a financial advisor. Clearly he’d gotten hold of a list of “women entrepreneurs” – so he got step one right – but he blew any chance he might have had with me when he actually said (and I’m not making this up), “I am a financial advisor and I am looking for women with $400,000 or more who are interested in investing.” Seriously? I thought!

Think about it. If you got step one right and found a wealthy woman to call, what would you say? Would you say something like, “Hi, I’m John Doe a financial advisor and I’d like to have you as a client” or a version of that. If you opened with that line, there is a good chance she’d hang – just as I did.

But maybe you think, “I’m smarter than that” and you’d try a less ‘in-your-face’ approach – “Hi, I help women like you reach their goals”. What’s wrong with that? Everything! And she’d likely hang up too because you can’t possibly know what “women like her” means. Rich women? Successful women? Leaders? None of these speaks to the woman she really is. And, let’s face it, the person you are calling is a woman you don’t know. So how can you presume to know how to help ‘women like her’.

OK – so clearly that’s what not to do. But it begs the question – how to start a conversation with someone you don’t know?

Well first, it requires some effort on your part – you need to do a bit of research and find something to connect you. For example, find a common acquaintance – “Hi, Jane Doe who knows you and is also a client of mine told me you were recently made a partner in your organization and I wanted to extend my congratulations.” Even if you don’t reach her, this is the type of message you could leave as a voicemail or with an assistant. And it’s a great beginning. If you think that type of approach would take way too long or is too difficult – ask yourself how many accounts you think you could open without knowing anything about her. And, if you think she’s never going to open an account with that line, you’re right – because you are guaranteed not to open an account on a first call under any circumstance anyway.

But, at least, a call that brings in a mutual acquaintance and congratulates her is completely focused on her (i.e. not about you) – as it should be. Long before you make your pitch about opening the account, you’ll need to know a lot more about her and gain her trust. Right now, in this first call, all you want is for her not to hang up on you.

Next time you are “prospecting” and reaching out to wealthy women – try opening with something positive about her – you might be surprised by her response. She likely won’t hang up or shoot you down. And, you may even manage to get yourself on her radar – in a good way.

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