Understanding Women Investors

Tips for Marketing to Women

  1. Provide consistent and regular communication.
  1. Make frequent telephone contact. That will show her that you are concerned about her and her financial well-being.
  1. Return her calls promptly.
  1. Visit her in her home or office. By going to her rather than always having her come to you, you will get to meet other members of her family and people who are important to her, and so you’ll become a more integral part of her life.
  1. Smile. A smile shows her that you are interested in her, and it shows her that you enjoy what you do and the time you are spending with her.
  1. Don’t make promises you can’t keep. Honest communication is the key to preserving the dynamics of interdependence.
  1. Recognize that you and she need each other. You need her business and she needs your expertise, so your relationship with women clients is interdependent.
  1. Get as much information as you can. Before you offer solutions, it is important to know as much as you can about her life and what makes her tick.
  1. Address all of her issues. When you offer solutions, make sure you do so in a problem-solving mode, addressing her issues and concerns.
  1. Don’t try to overcome objections. As you propose solutions, show her how the solutions will solve the problems she has, and invite her to ask questions and pose problems. The process of problem-solving with women is a dynamic interaction between the two of you.
  1. Show the human side of your proposal. Women approach money as a tool to help them and their loved ones. Show them how it affects them, and how it affects their relationship with other members of their families (e.g., education of their children).
  1. Don’t push or rush. Give her time to consider your suggestions and talk them over with others.
  1. Present solutions in a timely fashion.  If time is truly of the essence, say so. But don’t expect to present a solution at the last possible moment and have her act on it quickly. If she perceives that you do things last minute, it will seem that you are discounting the importance of her account, and the importance of her input and decision-making.
  1. Offer personal assurances. Let her know, in word and deed, that you will stand by her every step of the way, and that you will work together to implement the decisions. In this way, you will foster her trust in you, and you will be rewarded with her loyalty.
  1. Don’t overlook the value of cautiousness. Women want to make wise investing decisions. Be sure she has information and the time to think about it. She will realize that having you on her side is a mutually satisfying experience.
  1. Find out where her attitudes about money came from. Ask questions about how money was perceived in her family, and what it means to her today.
  1. Explore all possible solutions. Even if you know the right solution, explore the rest of the possibilities with her, and explain why they won’t work. Then, when someone tries to second-guess your advice, she’ll remember that you had a reason for rejecting the solution they are suggesting.
  1. Ask about prior disappointments. Ask her what has bothered her about her finances in the past, and the people she has been involved with in the professional management of those finances.
  1. Offer success stories. As you talk to women, offer them some success stories that are similar to their own situation, if you have such stories to offer.
  1. Don’t ignore the emotions attached to money. Many women come into money through a crisis: death, divorce or widowhood, and they have an irrational fear that if crisis brought money, a crisis can take it away. Work to gain their trust.
  1. Address your client’s subjective realities and perceptions. Many women don’t have the ability to regenerate their wealth if it is lost. Women’s fear of poverty is real, and you must address that fear if you are to gain their trust.

Marketing Ideas

  1. Take your client to lunch on her birthday. And include four of her friends as well; she’ll be pleased with your kindness, and you’ll be pleased to make the acquaintance of four women who likely are of similar financial circumstances as your client.
  1. Go for an outing. Take a group of your clients and their friends on a boat excursion around the bay or down the river. Ask a wholesaler to provide a speaker (and cover the expenses), and use this time with your captive audience to charm, educate and cement relationships.
  1. Sponsor monthly workshops in your office. Invite your women clients and their friends to workshops of interest in your office on a regular basis. (Hint: the workshops don’t all have to be on financial matters: for example, you can invite a florist to demonstrate flower arranging or a jeweler to talk about gem quality and demonstrate his wares.
  1. Do seminars for kids (and their moms).  Devise a fun, educational session for kids, and assign the workshop to one of your staff members. At the same time the kids are being educated, talk to the moms about what their kids are learning and what they should know.
  1. Organize investment clubs. Investment clubs are wonderful ways to educate your women clients and their friends. You won’t get rich on the investment club trades, but you will have an opportunity to meet women investors on a regular basis and open individual investment accounts for them.
  1. Create a client social club. Schedule quarterly luncheons where your female clients and invited prospects can get to know one another. You’ll be on hand to give a short speech on current financial matters, a wholesaler can offer information on financial products (and defray the expense of the luncheon).
  1. Have annual client appreciation gatherings. At a luncheon, dinner or cocktail party, you can tell your clients how much you appreciate them, your clients can tell you (and others there) how much they value your services. Introducing newcomers to more seasoned members of your clientele will help cement client loyalties.
  1. Sponsor charity events. Ask your women clients about the charities for which they volunteer and offer financial support. Make donations, sponsor fundraisers, and generally raise awareness of these charities in your newsletter and other client communiqués.
  1. Send out a newsletter highlighting your clients’ accomplishments. Women (and many men too) enjoy reading about the events and accomplishments of themselves and others. Publicize the highlights of your clients’ lives (career wins, new grandbabies, trips, and so forth), and share your own personal accomplishments as well.
  1. Build a specialty. Women are frequently in transition, and the more you know about the financial aspects of divorce, widowhood, retirement, educational planning, and inherited wealth, the more valuable your services will be to your female clients.
  1. Join the board of a charity. Many women serve on the boards of charitable institutions, such as the local children’s hospital, cancer society, and other charities. Don’t worry if you are male and the other board members are female; pull your weight and you’ll fit right in.
  1. Start a women’s educational group such as the Women’s Institute for Financial Education (WIFE.org). Being non-profit and providing unbiased financial education will open many doors for you.
  1. Speak to women’s groups. Create an entertaining talk on a compelling issue, such as education planning, the new tax laws, etc. Then start networking and calling women’s groups to get onto their meeting calendars.
  1. Create a comprehensive financial education series. A weekly series that deals with budgeting, investing, taxes, insurance, and estate planning is appealing to women who want to learn more about financial matters for their families. Invite other professionals to present the portions outside your expertise, with you introducing and providing closing remarks each week.
  1. Present seminars for Employee Educational Assistance programs. Many employers offer brown-bag lunch programs for their employees. If those employees are within the demographics you seek as clientele, present programs for employers who offer such programs to their employees.
  1. Understand female demographics. The average age of a new widow is 56, a wife will outlive her husband by seven-plus years, a woman 65 will live to be 88, on average, and women are six times more likely to be single in retirement than men. Nearly 90% of all women will end up managing their finances alone at some point in their lives.
  1. Understand the importance of the women’s market. Forty percent of wealthy Americans are women, women will inherit $12 trillion over the next 20 years, 80% of women 25-54 are working, women-owned businesses employ one of every four US workers, and women participate in 80% of saving and investing decisions.
  1. Understand how important security is for women. Men equate money with power. Women equate money with security.
  1. Understand that women need good money management. Most women will spend nearly one-third of their adult lives on their own financially, and women are more likely to be single parents who may be solely responsible for the education of their children.
  1. Help women establish and meet goals. Women worry about the future more than men do, and so they are more goal oriented, saving to fund goals such as education and retirement. Yet surveys show that women feel less prepared than men for their eventual retirement and the feel less knowledgeable about investing. Men tend to think of money as competition, while women think about achieving goals.
  1. Provide explanations, not just recommendations. Typically, men want enough information to make a decision, while women want to understand every facet of their financial decisions, perhaps because they tend to be less confident in their ability to make property financial decisions, so they seek more information and education.
  1. Provide capital management. For many women who are thrust into the world of finance through widowhood, inheritance, or divorce, the responsibility of conserving capital that they could never replace is overwhelming. Women want capable investment management they can trust.
  1. Don’t approach women from the standpoint of greed and fear. Realize that most women aren’t after wealth. Survey after survey has found that women don’t want wealth, they want financial security for themselves and their families. Women are driven by fear, uncertainty and doubt.
  1. Understand what money management means to women. A study by Money Magazine showed that more women said they were good money managers that did men. But men viewed effective management in terms of choosing good investments and planning for taxes and retirement, while women viewed good management in terms of balancing their checkbooks, paying off debts, and bargain hunting.
  1. Learn to deal with women’s indirect speech. When a woman talks to a man she may use an indirect manner to do so, suggesting that a certain thing might be nice, or wondering what would happen if thus and so happened. Understand that this type of indirect suggestion is actually a request, and respond accordingly.
  1. Don’t take charge. When women express a problem, it is in part so that they can understand it better. It is an invitation to explore the problem, and interactively come up with a solution. It is not an invitation to you to take control and take the power of making the decisions.
  1. Educate, educate, educate. When it comes to finances, it’s not that women don’t get it, it’s that they were never given it to begin with. It’s important that they get the financial information that they need so they can use it to build their competence.
  1. Give input as long as necessary. Women are likely to downplay their certainty, as men are likely to downplay their doubts.  So even when a woman thinks she knows what she wants to do, she will continue asking for input to confirm her belief. You can help her explore the benefits and disadvantages, and zero in on the decision she has made as being the right one.
  1. Educate women about risk. Studies show that women are less risk-tolerant than men and more apt to choose low-yield conservative investments. Women are also more likely to avoid financial decisions because they are afraid of making a mistake. Help her evaluate the risk, and then once the investment is made, help her understand and cope with the investment’s volatility.
  1. Be helpful. Women make it easy. Women are more likely than men to ask for help when they need it and to accept that help. (Men are famous for trying to figure things out on their own, and never asking for directions.)
  1. Provide details when needed. Women as a whole are more detail-oriented than men, so they may seem as though they are being picky when they are really just seeking the information they need to make a decision.
  1. Understand that women are more willing than men to seek financial advice. Women business owners with more than 10 employees consult with various sources more regularly than men. Men often see asking for assistance as a threat to their masculinity. Women don’t care who knows more, they just want the best solution.
  1. Convince the women investor that you understand her situation. Before you can discuss the benefits and features of your products, you will have to convince her that you are in sync and you are able to provide solutions tailored to her needs. That is why most women investors do not respond well to the typical product-oriented seminar provided by many stockbrokers.
  1. Ask women how involved they want to be in managing their investments. Women are loath to spend a lot of time managing their investments, especially when they aren’t really sure they know what they are doing. But for the most part, they are very responsible and don’t believe that they can shirk the responsibility by handing it off to someone else. It’s difficult to walk the fine line between involving them and overburdening them.
  1. Don’t take offense when women clients relate outsiders’ suggestions. Many women operate best in a realm of interdependence, and they communicate more openly with others about their financial concerns than do men. So either demonstrate that your plan is better or modify your plan to incorporate the helpful advice of others.
  1. Talk to the important people in her life. Find out who else in a woman’ life is involved in her decision-making, and be sure that you talk to that person as well. It may be a lover, husband, father, brother, best friend or neighbor. Women tend to travel in packs and they often do decision-making on a collaborative basis.
  1. Explore all the possibilities. When she asks you “What do you think about this investment?” or “What would you do in my position”, take it as an invitation to explore all the possibilities rather than to truly tell what you would do. That gets all the possibilities only to the table, and you can then discuss why each of them will or will not work, and she can tell you how she feels about each of them as you progress.
  1. Understand that women are not driven by greed. Studies show that women are better gamblers than men because they are able to walk away from the table when they are ahead of the game, Many men, emotionally overcome with greed, tend to stay on and lose their winnings while the woman is already on her way to the bank.
  1. Explore her money attitudes. Find out what makes her wake up at 2 a.m. worrying. Find out how money was talked about and used in her family growing up. Find out what role money played in her relationship with former spouses.
  1. Don’t ignore her intuitive hunches. Women usually want to follow up those hunches with careful research before they will plunk down cold cash.
  1. Explore her decision-making process. Find out what money means to her, and what she thinks is important. As you probe for this information, you’ll build rapport so that she’ll know you are concerned about her and you have her best interests in mind.
  1. Understand that women want to take more into consideration than men. Because women tend to think about people and feelings, their decision-making process is more encompassing and less direct. Women are thus thought to beat around the bush, rather than getting to the point more quickly as men do. But in actuality, they are probably taking into account more information in making their decision than men.
  1. Help her escape self-blame. Women tend to be more self-critical and are more apt to blame themselves than men. That means that when finances go awry, they think they are the cause of it. A man may be more inclined to take credit when an investment turns out well, whereas a woman might consider it to be lucky. A man will consider a bad investment to be an unlucky break, while a woman takes it personally.
  1. Don’t get annoyed if a woman asks a lot of questions. Women are information gatherers, and they have a need to know. It is your job to tell them what they want to know, and also to put it into perspective so they understand what’s important and what isn’t.

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