I frequently consult with financial advisors to help them grow their practice through increasing their female client base. Financial professionals, particularly male financial advisors, often hesitate to work with female clients because they are unsure of how to communicate with them. They are fearful of offending them with assumptions about who in the family makes the money and how they go about making financial decisions. Advisors also fear emotional reactions from female clients following a spouse’s death and are unsure how to deal with those moments that difficult life and money conversations can bring.

In reality, working with women doesn’t need to be complicated, in fact, it’s important to resist the urge to overcomplicate the process. The three keys below will help you to gain the confidence you need to garner the trust and respect of female clients that will create lasting relationships. 

Key 1: Trust And Respect

The foundation for creating unique relationships with female clients and couples is built on trust and respect -- acknowledging her role as a financial decision maker.

Women don’t want to sacrifice returns and performance for a strong relationship with their financial professional, but rather they do expect and want both.  But when asked, women cite a relationship based on trust, respect and focus on life goals as the most important factors in selecting a financial professional (2004 study from Prince and Gove, “Women of Wealth”).

Key 2: Communication – Questions Are Your Friends

By tailoring your relationship-building skills and communication style to reflect what studies have shown to be important to women, you will earn her business and she will likely refer more business your way. 

Start by asking your female clients how they would like to be communicated with -- how often, does she want to know what the financial services products will do for her or does she want to know exactly how the product functions. 

The most effective approach to understanding your female clients is to get them talking. Ask her open-ended questions so she can share details of her life which may have influenced her views on money and how she wants to live her life in retirement.

Key 3: Build Your Confidence