Financially Empower Your Female Clients
By Elke Rubach
Targeting female prospects is not just a marketing opportunity — it’s an opportunity to expand your business with more inclusivity and do what’s right. The way in which women make financial decisions are frequently misunderstood by or unknown to financial professionals. This can lead women to be hesitant to continue working with advisors. By changing your approach and personalizing your services and processes to meet your female clients’ specific needs, you can grow your clientele and create trusting long-term relationships.
Tailoring your approach
According to a 2019 survey, 60% of women who were married or with a partner stated their financial planner treated their spouse or partner as the decision-maker. Not feeling acknowledged by their advisor can be a deterrent for many women seeking to cultivate a trusting relationship. Additionally, 87% of women said they cannot find a financial advisor to connect with, according to a 2015 survey.
Because the financial advising profession still views women as a niche market, advisors may be unaware of how to connect with their female clients or how to tailor advice for their female clients’ needs.
When you begin to work with female clients, it’s critical to speak to them as business professionals. Remain aware of their culture and background, and work to respect it. And from the beginning, be sure to provide advice to both partners individually.
Keep in mind that your responsibility to clients and their families includes taking a step back to guide them through the process. Although it may feel comfortable to assume general needs or concerns, be careful not to offer advice based on any assumptions — take the time to listen and ask questions about their needs. Depending on their answers and their specific goals, proceed with planning. Don’t start with solutions or by reverse-engineering a sale of a product. Cash flow planning, insurance and asset management all are important, but they need to be part of the plan.
Crafting the financial plan
Building a plan should be based on the client’s wants and goals — then, you can work toward finding the right solution. First look for the “what,” then figure out the “how.” Don’t assume your client’s insurance needs, or whether they know how to invest and run the numbers. Instead, ask about their style, their risk tolerance, and their risk capacity.
Asking questions to help gain a more well-rounded understanding of their financial background is beneficial as well. What is important to them? What have they tried? What worked? What didn’t? You’ll also want to dive deep into their spending habits.
The entire plan must be customized. It’s important to let your clients guide the conversation and to facilitate an environment where they feel comfortable asking questions. Keep in mind that most clients are interested in the journey just as much as they are interested in the destination.
When you do share a strategy with your clients, don’t make recommendations without explaining the reasoning behind them. This can lead clients to lose interest in your business, as they might not feel your services can provide the support they need. Leverage the plan and math behind it to support any recommendations you make, especially about products. If you help clients with various intricate financial tools — such as sorting out wills, creating tax plans, and advising about insurance and investments — they will love and appreciate you.
Finally, be strict about confidentiality. When clients become comfortable with you, they may open up and potentially become more vulnerable. Be careful not to discuss their fears or flaws with other parties.
These are some suggestions, and you must learn how to read your client. Needs and goals change naturally at every step of a female client’s career — even at the beginning when they might not be deemed a “profitable” client by others. So you will likely be on track to have a very long-term, loyal relationship.
Remember, you hold the key that gives meaning to their years of work and sacrifice in the name of breaking the glass ceiling. Take the necessary steps to educate and uplift the women you’re serving. In a nutshell, make sure they know you truly care.