Women investors: Engage. Focus. Reach.
This year in particular, the rise of the female investor has been catalogued often by the media1 recognizing the growing presence women play in household investment and financial decisions. Longer lives, higher education, increased workplace participation, female entrepreneurs, and divorce helped pave the way. Women may just be one of the industry’s most important growth opportunities.
Will Rogers’ funny-because-it-hits-home quote makes light of the very real dynamic that exists in any relationship. We all work hard to engage clients in meaningful conversations to help them achieve financial security. With women playing a larger role in financial decision making, the question becomes how do you engage more thoughtfully with your current female clients? How do you interact and attract more female clients?
Engage: Mind the (communication) gap
In order to get women more engaged in the investment conversation you need to be mindful of the communication gap. Talk about money, its meaning and role in their lives. Talk about their portfolio and how it relates to achieving their goals not just what their portfolio performance was in absolute or relative terms to a benchmark. Avoid industry jargon. Invite women to be a partner in the process, to collaborate, learn and offer her perspective. Empower women to be smarter and more involved investors.
Focus on what matters most to women
Financial security and their family/relationships. Use events and seminars to share information about topics that appeal to your female clientele. These topics will vary by individual, age, life circumstances. Consider hosting an event that focuses on ‘empowering mothers to financially educate their children’ or a social event showcasing ‘women and the arts’ with local artists. Be creative, have fun and create an inclusive environment for your female client that allows them plenty of time to learn and share from one another.
Reach: Take action
If you are interested in working more with women, start with your current clients. In the next week, review your current relationships and identify a woman or a couple (where the woman isn’t as involved in the advisor/client relationship) and set up a meeting. In the next month, consider planning a financial focused or social event that focuses on your female clients. Women can be incredible referral sources and advocates. Make your first point of action engaging more meaningfully with your current clients.
1“Women, money and power” by Liza Mundy, Time Magazine, March 26, 2012; “Warning to advisors: Ignore women’s market at your peril” by James J. Green, AdvisorOne, March 27, 2012; “Women’s financial power grows faster than savvy” by Hadley Malcolm, USA Today, August 17, 2012