Working with women clients generally requires the same tools advisors use to work with men, but a slightly different skill set.

To excel with 2021’s demanding clients and prospects, advisors have to simultaneously master the technical and mathematical aspects of providing high quality financial advice, the ability to connect with investors on an emotional and behavioral level, and the skills necessary to continue running their businesses as needs change, according to presenters at the 2021 Invest In Women conference, sponsored by MFS Investment Management. Advisors, vendors and journalists gathered in November virtually for the conference, held annually by Financial Advisor magazine.

The conference was opened by Susan Kay, vice president and director of business development at MFS Fund Distributors, who offered some unconventional tips for client prospecting and business development.

Hosting a “pet portrait” day for clients, neighbors and their friends was one of the unusual ways of getting an advisor in front of a number of new faces in a fun format that Kay suggested during the opening session.

“I want to be the coach whispering in your ear” suggesting imaginative marketing plans and showing you how to carry them out, she said.

Making The Connection
Business consultant Pat Quinn explained to conference attendees how to convert strangers to clients using an exceptional signature speech.

Each exceptional signature speech begins with a personal story that connects the advisor to the audience. “Do not start with what makes you extraordinary; start with something you have in common with the audience.” State a problem the audience has and tell them the solution. Do not just tell them what you do, he advised.

After prospects become clients, their behavioral biases must be managed, said Lara Coviello, vice president and senior portfolio manager for Brinker Capital Investments, an Orion company. The TAMP executive gave a half dozen biases that the merged Orion and Brinker have witnessed more frequently during the pandemic: herd following, recency, anchoring, confirmation, ambiguity aversion and loss aversion.

She also suggested goals-based planning, framing—particularly historical framing—and taking a diet from watching media and frequently viewing accounts and balances as potential treatments for these biases.

“What I often tell my clients is that if you don’t need to, why check your statements and balances every day? Why look at that app every day—it’s not healthy,” she said. “It’s why they hired a financial advisor. We’re the ones that should be monitoring and making changes and buying and selling in line with opportunities. Checking a portfolio every day causes more chaos for you and is not beneficial.”

Two Big Issues Facing Women
Perhaps nowhere is the need for technical and behavioral skill more crucial than in working with divorced clients, said Kimberly Foss, president and CEO of Empyrion Wealth Management, during a panel discussion titled, “Grey Divorce and Re-Partnering: What You Need To Know Now.”

She added that the emotional aspect has become a big component when dealing with divorce, especially with women because they have a higher sense of emotion and are in a fight-or-flight mode. “You have to understand how to get in through a sympathetic and empathetic way so you could calm them and then their logical brain can step in,” she said.

Women, more than men, must contend with greater longevity, according to Age Wave co-founder Maddy Dychtwald, who explained that the average length of a retirement has tripled since 1935. Clients now live up to one-third of their lives in retirement.

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