Every client is different and will approach financial advice from their own perspective meaning advisers need to be prepared to ask the right questions and to understand what the answers will mean, particularly when dealing with women.
In this article from KnowledgeMaster’s Jim Prigg, he states that women and men approach advice in distinct ways and expect different things during the advice process and being prepared for that approach will create better client outcomes.
Depending on your answer to the headline of this article it may be time to rethink your beliefs regarding women, decision making and buying intangibles. It is vital you look at your own beliefs because today’s female buyer may refuse to do business with you if you have the wrong approach, attitude or culture.
Women now account for 51% of the population. They affect 70% of all buying decisions. Surveys indicate that 70% of women partners claim to do all the banking, 69% claim to be the initiators of discussions regarding finances in the home, 46% of property investors are women and today there are more single women applying for bank loans than single men.
Men and women think and act differently in most aspects of their lives. If you want to be successful in dealing with women, then it is critical that you understand and respect how they make buying decisions. The differences stem from how women communicate, their caring, sharing nature, the time it takes to reach a decision and the way they make those decisions.
Women do control the purse strings – their own, and often those of their partner’s. They do have a great influence on decisions. There has been a dramatic power shift in today’s economic society. Of today’s partnerships/marriages, only 53% are solely reliant on the male income. Fifty years ago that figure was close to 90%.
Selling the Relationship
The most interesting and definitive element in the communication process with women is the person. It is not the process or the features of the services, concept or technical ideas you are offering. Women seek information, association and connectivity as a group, consensus and multiple forms of communication with and to others in making a buying decision. They can take longer to buy, because trust is important to them.
Historically, many in the “sale of advice” profession have focused their prospecting efforts on men: In days gone by, targeting men as the financial decision-makers was understandable and consequently profitable. But as we are more aware now, married women and those in long term relationships, are now at least equal decision makers with their partners in financial decision-making and in fact, in many cases they do make the final decision.
Building a strong business relationship with a woman during the sales process is different than building such a relationship with a man. Why? Because, women are used to relationships, want relationships and are very comfortable with interactive relationships with their groups of connective friends/family. So, a sound relationship will engender their trust in you.
Women are interested in security. Having (enough) money is security. Money is a means to an end. Whether it is long term security, family security or security of income; that is what they want to be able to guarantee or provide either by them or their partner. Security is also an intangible concept. Women understand concepts like welfare, protection, security, trust, planning, relationships and guarantees.
Whether you are a male or female adviser it is the empathy that you have with your clients that is of vital importance. And your capability to educate them to understand how products solve the problems they have.
One thing you can’t ignore is the fact that the women’s market is growing. Recent research carried out by BT revealed that 73% of retirement aged persons living in Australia are women living alone. So if you are dealing with retirees, the bulk of your clients are potentially going to be women living on their own.
It is obvious there is a growing women’s market and that women need financial planning advice. But how do you elicit a positive response from them?
Through a comprehensive financial planning process you must show them how to be able to secure and protect themselves. It is a matter of education or “Edusell”. If you can educate women before you sell to them you will have them asking questions. These questions mean you can provide the “talking points” they require before they will make decisions. These talking points are the rationalisation data required before making a decision.
So where do you begin?
- Start by understanding the psyche of your client. Discover what are the subtle differences between men and women and how can you best sell yourselves to women? What are these women looking for from a financial planner? What are the criteria for creating trust?
- Be ready to listen to them longer. They may take more time to get to the issues. You will hear a lot about the past, what conditions them and how they “don’t want to be sold”. This is not time wasting small talk. The client is actually communicating how she wants to be sold to.
- Selling to women is more about attitude than technique – it’s about selling intelligently. When a man listens to, shows interest in and respects a woman’s opinion to whom he is selling, she will be more receptive to a long term relationship to accept advice.
- Trust is also of vital importance to women. Men tend to be more forgiving. Women rarely forgive or forget in business dealings. However, once you have gained a woman’s trust you will be able to help discuss, educate and solve their problems.
- Because women can do and think about multiple things and multi task at the same time you must ask more open-ended questions that allow this freedom of expression to happen. And wait for their answers and remember or file away what they say.
- Once a business relationship is formed, women tend to remain clients for longer, entrust you with explaining ideas in a conceptual format and importantly, recommend you to others. Although it may require more effort to establish relationships with women, it is well worth the effort.
- The challenge you face is to recognise that your beliefs about women will play a huge part in determining whether you continue to manage a successful financial planning business in the future.
Questions to ask
Perhaps you could begin by asking yourself the following questions:
- What have you done to position yourself and your business in a society that is changing dramatically, resulting in an ever-increasing women’s market?
- Do you have a plan in place to ensure that you capitalize on this growing market for the benefit of your business?
- Are you in a position to attract and appeal to more women?
- Do you have any influential women in your client base who you can discuss this with?
- What will you do in the next 12 months to leverage your marketing to appeal more to women?
This article is reprinted with permission from Jim Prigg CEO and founder of Knowledgemaster Pty Ltd. Knowledgemaster is an online resources company that delivers practical communications, interaction, sales and soft skills tips, tactics, techniques. Learn more about winning business programs and courses by contacting Jim.
Contact Jim Prigg to learn more about winning business programs and courses.