What you should know about working with women, Pt. 1 Article added by Ryan Parker on September 20, 2012
Ryan Parker

Ryan Parker

St. Petersburg , FL

Joined: April 04, 2011

Advisors must do a stellar job communicating with women and effectively addressing their needs, as women now earn more money and possess more power than ever before.

Could you be leaving millions of dollars on the table? It's very possible, especially if you're overlooking one of the most powerful demographics in the nation. But you wouldn’t be alone in your underestimation of the power women now yield.

Gone are the days when the “Little Mrs.” simply raised the children, managed the home and yielded to her husband's financial decisions. Not so in the 21st century; today's woman is far different from her predecessors. Just consider these tantalizing statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
  • Women now control 75 percent of family finances
  • One in four (26 percent) women earns more than her husband
  • Boomer women stand to inherit somewhere between $12 trillion and $14 trillion in the next decade — both from their parents and, statistically, from their husbands
What this means, of course, is that advisors must do a stellar job communicating with women and effectively addressing their needs, as women now earn more money and possess more power than ever before. However, the startling truth is that within three years of being widowed or divorced, 97 percent of female clients will leave the advisor their spouse used, according to a study from Allianz. One of the top reasons given for this defection is the way their advisor treated them over the course of their working relationship. Many old-school advisors will have inadvertently focused the entire relationship — and hence, all his attention — on the man, while having done little more than greet the woman when she entered the room.

So, when you do work with women — whether they're single or part of a couple — keep these important points in mind, as they're what's most important to your female clients and prospects.

What women want
  • First and foremost, woman demand respect. Afford women all of the same courtesies you extend to your male clients and speak to them no differently than you would a man — period.
  • Women tend to place greater value on relationships and trust than men do, so be prepared to cultivate relationships with your female prospects. While men will often see more value in your credentials and performance history (this is not to suggest that these things aren't also important to women), the average woman won't decide to work with you until she feels she can trust you.
  • Most women crave financial security, and in order to ensure they make well-informed and appropriate decisions, women want information, education and research. With an eye on the future and long-term income and savings planning, women are seeking to learn more about financial products in many ways. They're conducting research on the Internet, attending seminars and soliciting advice from people they trust.
    In a nutshell, the more knowledge you can arm your female client with, the better prepared she'll be to sign on the dotted line.
  • Remember that women typically outlive men and must therefore plan for extra years in a solo retirement. Women's greater need for products that address longevity, such as annuities or long-term care insurance, was recently highlighted in a SmartMoney magazine article entitled, “Why Women Get a Raw Deal in Retirement.”

    Neglecting to include guaranteed income products to address a woman's longer life expectancy and greater need for income can have devastating effects on her retirement lifestyle.
At this point, we may have touched upon some of the answers to the eternal question of what women want, and as such, should be better prepared to deliver on their expectations accordingly. And whether your client is single, married, widowed or divorced, you'd do well to remember these new realities if you intend to capitalize on this segment, as we'll discuss further in part two of this series.
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