I’ve been in this business for over 30 years as an advisor and an executive. As a CMO, I’m a big fan of consumer research that is statistically relevant or gathered by experts in qualitative research.

This is neither.

I live on the North Shore of Boston. Yeah, that area that is covered in an obscene and frightening amount of snow -- maybe our penalty for “Deflategate,” who knows. What I can tell you is that Bostonians really are wicked strong and the women are quite mighty. While storms raged, I found myself at a wine (whine) party with five women who represent assets ranging from about $1 million to 20 million. Great clients. Three are married, two are not. Four out of five are significant breadwinners. All are power babes, which is a high compliment from me, conferring a certain self-confidence and wisdom that I admire.

They all know that I’m in the financial biz, so one of them brought up the annual “pestering” she receives from her family’s advisor for a face-to-face meeting. Advisors want one face-to-face meeting per year to cement relationships, right? At times, advisors may feel that a large portion of their best clients are actually couples. Guess who controls the calendar when you ask for a face-to-face meeting? The woman.

So, here’s what I heard from my friends:

  1. “OMG he wants an hour to tell us what the market is doing! We’ve got CNBC…”
  2. “She actually said she’s required to meet with us face to face. I feel bad.”
  3. “I just can’t pretend that I believe they have an inside opinion on emerging markets. Don’t they understand what I actually use them for?”

Aha. The last comment is a pearl of wisdom. Why do your clients use you? If you dig deep to understand that, you might keep them engaged, so that meeting with you would be positive. Who do you want to be? The dentist (required annually and scary!) or the masseuse (it hurts but it’s good, and I want more!)?

Since there was a lot of snow and we weren’t going anywhere, I asked the power babes what would make them juggle between two calendars to get both Mr. and Mrs. in front of their advisor. Interesting to note, two women said Skype or GoTo meetings were just as good or preferable to them. If the meeting is going to be a snooze, they want it to be easy.

Fueled by very good Pinot and Merlot, I gave them each a slip of paper for their best ideas -- ones that might make them drive downtown -- and here is what they came up with: