Breaking the mold: engaging female investors

Speaking to crowd
There seems to be a misperception within the advisory community that male advisors shouldn’t host events aimed at female prospects and clients. Their reasoning varies:

  • Some advisors believe there is no need for such an event because they have a great relationship with the husband or partner who has previously been the main contact with providing financial advice;
  • Others think women wouldn’t be very interested in attending such an event event because their partner have been the main contact for the advisor;
  • Some advisors question if, as a man, they have any grounds to coordinate such an event
  • Others feel overwhelmed at the prospect of coordinating an event tailored to a different audience.

I beg to differ.

In fact, I’ve participated as a speaker at women-only events organized by male advisors, and have personally witnessed the advisors’ awe at the large response rate, the engagement, and the referrals they’ve received after the event.

The benefits of hosting events exclusively for women

I would argue that deepening relationships with female clients is more important than ever before. After all, women are an economic force to be reckoned with. Women

    • Are poised to control 70% of the $41 trillion in inter-generational wealth transfer over the next 40 years1
    • Are living longer than men,2
    • Make up nearly half of the U.S. workforce and earning more than they ever have in the past,
    • Launch 70% of all new businesses in the U.S., which are growing at twice the national rate.3

Women-only events can be a way to achieve that deeper connection with this important demographic and help advisors retain their current business and continue growing it.

As with any event, it’s important you tailor the event to the group you are hosting.

Below are a few tips we’ve heard from advisors who have hosted successful events for their female clients and prospects:

Of course, the trick lies in organizing an event that is appealing to women. Without wanting to stereotype, the typical golf scrambles, baseball games or chart-laden presentations may not be as big a draw for women as they tend to be for men.

Tips for hosting a successful women-only event

So, what might work better for your female clients?

  1. Make the event social and comfortable, by encouraging idea sharing and considering events which include fun elements. We’ve heard advisors host successful events that include wine and chocolate tasting, holiday shopping and fashion nights, and break-from-work luncheons.
  1. Encourage guests to bring their adult daughters, women they know who are in transition, or simply friends to come along. Women are traditionally family and community caregivers and are usually open to bringing others who could benefit from hearing about a relevant topic. Remember, a female client is likely to refer you 26 times in her lifetime compared to a man’s 11 times.4 Therefore, women’s events may deepen relationships, and possibly lead to more business.
  1. Partner with a female advisor, especially as you perfect hosting women’s focused events. Also, let women team members own and drive the event.
  1. Listen to your Client Advisory Board. Creating a women-only advisory board is a good business decision and could lead to hosting successful women-focused events. A dedicated and engaged female advisory board could easily help fill a room at a women’s event.
  1. Acknowledge that your goal is to connect. Sometimes all it takes is introducing the event, then acknowledging the obvious: a line like “I recognize I’m the only man in the room” all but guarantees laughter and applause – not to mention a new appreciation for the guy trying to communicate with women about their investments.

The bottom line

Many advisors are seeking better ways to engage female clients, and hosting events designed exclusively for women is an increasingly popular strategy. It may feel daunting at first, but it’s proven successful for advisors and female investors alike.

Time and time again, advisors have told me how impressed they are with attendance and engagement at such events – and how rewarding it is when, at the end of the event, key female prospects request a meeting.

1 Source: Kingsbury, Kathleen Burns. How to Give Financial Advice to Women: Attracting and Retaining High-Net Worth Female Clients, McGraw-Hill Education, 2012, p. ix.

2 Source: 2010 U.S. Census

3 Source: Kingsbury, Kathleen Burns. How to Give Financial Advice to Women: Attracting and Retaining High-Net Worth Female Clients, McGraw-Hill Education, 2012, p. ix

4 Source: Passi, Delia. Winning the Toughest Customer: the Essential Guide to Selling to Women.

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Copyright © Russell Investments 2016. All rights reserved.

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