Marketing Financial Services to Women

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What do women want? To be understood. 

Women consumers are most dissatisfied with financial services. They are particularly dissatisfied with investment management services. Women with a meaningful amount of investable assets represent a substantial and growing market opportunity for large wealth management firms and independent advisors.

American women are the single largest economic force in the world and the wealth management industry is competing aggressively to win over women clients. Highly educated, affluent women – with a net worth between $500,000 and $1 million — represent one of the biggest growth opportunities for independent financial advisors. They are more likely than men to work with a financial advisor and to rely on an advisor as their primary source of financial advice.

The influence of women is reshaping the financial services industry, from products to sales to service. But here’s the rub: in no other industry are women more dissatisfied than with financial services, and in particular, the investment and advisory side of the business.

The financial advisory industry is undergoing rapid and transforming change as the model transitions toward a relationship-based consultative culture. This trend dovetails with the insights, communications and advisory techniques that are effective when working with women clients.

  • Recognizing the importance of a relationship.
  • Understanding their lives and values.
  • Communicating clearly and  intelligently, without talking down to them.

The Importance of  Trust and Relationship

Interpersonal and empathetic communication skills are your most powerful marketing tools in the women’s market. To successfully convert prospects to clients, think of ‘trusted advisor’ as an action verb.

Personal finance can be confusing, complex and intimidating — to men and women. Your competency is indeed important and women want an experienced advisor. However, most women will not hire an advisor based solely on track record. It’s personal chemistry that drives a woman’s decision making when choosing a financial advisor. In survey after survey, women say the absence of a personal connection is a deal breaker.

Empathy is the ability to imagine and accept how your clients feel about money, what they worry about, how they think and make decisions, what they value, the family dynamics, their hopes and dreams and what they’re likely to encounter down the road.

Developing personal chemistry is a deeper process than a rapport-based sales conversation. You really need to communicate to connect. Listening and focusing on their goals is how women come to trust their advisors. While men and women may share the same goals, they often take very different paths to reach them. You will earn trust by demonstrating that you accept this — without judgment.

Most important — women are seeking an advocate, not an adversary. Contemporary women wield significant economic clout at home and financial decision-making authority at work. Your opportunity is to simplify the complex and to provide insight and answers that help them make informed decisions.

Not all women are alike

Contemporary consumers are more sophisticated, knowledgeable and demanding than ever before and they expect products and services to be customized to their needs. Long gone are the days when you could capture a prospect’s age and gender and produce a checklist of needs. Women no longer follow a linear path from cradle to grave. Whether she’s a stay at home Mom or a CEO, contemporary women are busy, multi-tasking and time starved. Their need for real-time answers and efficient service is a function of balancing conflicting demands on their personal and professional time. 

Life-stage modeling captures the experiences and needs that drive women’s priorities, attitudes, decision-making, and loyalty. Consumers in general, and women, in particular, are three times more likely to respond to a life-stage positioned product or service.

A clear sense of your prospect’s life stage needs will drive an effective, focused niche-based prospecting plan. Your insight-driven communications will produce a higher closing ratio. Client retention and long-term relationship management will be enhanced because you will be more sensitive to your client’s need for new, more or different products and services as they transition through life stages.Contemporary consumers are more sophisticated, knowledgeable and demanding than ever before and they expect products and services to be customized to their needs. Long gone are the days when you could capture a prospect’s age and gender and produce a checklist of needs.

These few samples from my proprietary life stage matrix will give you some insight into your female prospects and clients:

Sex and the City

She is single and would rather invest in shoes than stock. If she is a young SATC woman, she could be piling on debt while establishing an adult lifestyle. She will change jobs early and often, so be on the look out for a retirement rollover opportunity. Financially established SATC women are big homebuyers, which creates a set of needs around saving, investing and asset protection.

Hockey Mom

This first-time married woman and mother is focused on her domestic relationships. She is investing in her home and her young family. She is busy but energetic and more anxious than stressed. She is still coming up the learning curve about so many things. Reduce her anxiety by educating her about the appropriate financial products and services that will protect her family.

The Best Is Yet to Come

This woman is an empty nester who is actively investing in her health and wellness. If she is more than 10 years from retirement she may be investing in deferred dreams: getting a degree, adventure travel, starting a business. An older BIYTC is focused on preparing for an independent retirement. Participate in her dreams whatever they are and help her make them come true.

This article By Bess Gallanis first appeared as part one of a three-part series that first appeared on Wealth Management Marketing in 2010.

 

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