We’re talking about several best practices to help women meet their financial goals.

Jon Lagerstedt: Are you encouraging women to be active and involved in their financial lives? We’re sharing best practices to inform your strategy for helping this segment of your clients and prospects. I’m Jon Lagerstedt.

Wayne Badorf: And I’m Wayne Badorf. This is The Essential Practice podcast.

Jon: Building strong client relationships with women means understanding their unique needs, concerns, and preferences. Which, at a high-level, we think is a best practice no matter what your gender is as a financial advisor, or the composition of your team.

Wayne: Good point.

Jon: A quick program note for our audience—this conversation derives from an “Essential Practice Strategy” we have to help support your practice, and today’s conversation is part of a paper on Advising Affluent Women that you can get by contacting your regional partner at 888-877-9275.

Wayne: I think one of the things that’s really interesting that we detail in the paper are some of the key concerns and financial challenges that women may face. We detail three of those—one is debt, the second is divorce, and the third is death of a spouse. It’s really important that advisors understand and be empathetic.

We’ve always been told that if we wanted to build relationships, that it’s usually about us doing more listening than talking and taking time to get to know your client before you talk about investment products. Ask them lots of questions. Encourage her to ask you a lot of questions. Encourage her to share concerns, or things she really wants to accomplish from a financial perspective.

Jon: Let’s get into these best practices. And the first is creating collaborative working relationships—with the emphasis on collaborative.

Wayne: You know, working collaboratively is incredibly important in working with female clients. So show that you’re invested in your client. It’s a great best practice for any client, to show that they are at the center of the conversation. Their cares and concerns are your cares and concerns. Be the exception to what they might experience from other financial advisors. And make sure that you spend that time learning about what it is they want to accomplish, up-front, financially, so you can present to them the best vehicles and strategies to get there.

Jon: And we’re suggesting advisors recognize important distinctions between women and men.

Wayne: Well, we do notice some differences, and we detail this in our paper, around how women and men are hard-wired differently. And so I think there’s an opportunity, really, to meet with clients in ways that really engage them more fully. And so one of the best practices we talk about is perhaps conduct group discussions, spend time with your female clients or with a group of female clients talking about a particular topic that you know they are interested in. Educate them on that topic so that when it comes time for them to make a decision, they feel like they have everything they need to make an effective decision.

I think as well it’s really important to maintain an open dialogue. Stay connected. Provide regular updates. While men may prefer data, statistics when making decisions, we see that women and other types of clients may approach decision-making through conversation or interaction.

Jon: And in terms of asset management, the best practice is using real-life examples.

Wayne: You know, one of the ways you might use real-life examples is when talking about ESG investing—Environmental, Social and Governance. The idea that the companies they are investing in may be doing good in the world; the idea that they are more likely to stay with those companies during ups and downs, if they believe those companies are doing good. And so let me give you a couple examples. One is you may value companies that have a diverse board of directors. Another way might be to think about your everyday habits. For example, if you’re used to buying a cup of coffee every day, and taking that cup of coffee from the store, by replacing that with your own mug or container, perhaps you’re able to quantify, over a period of time, how much timber you’d actually be saving. And so there are ways a financial advisor can bring to life investing, whether it be aligning to their investing habits or just their everyday practices. And it makes it just much more real for the decisions that the investor is making.

Jon: The paper makes an important point, that these best practices help advisors who are working with couples as well. Right?

Wayne: I think the couple is, together, the summation of two people, and the advisor needs to pay attention to both people. And sometimes advisors may only listen or talk to one of the two parties, and it’s so important that regardless of who is across the table that the advisor give them equal attention and treat both individuals as decision-makers.

Jon: A quick note for our audience before we wrap up. We have a client guide for you called, Taking control of your financial well-being. It’s an actionable workbook when working with your female clients or prospects. So ask your regional partner for that resource. Until next time, I’m Jon Lagerstedt.

Wayne: I’m Wayne Badorf, thanks for listening to The Essential Practice podcast.

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