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Sounding Off: Working With Female Clients
Monday, January 28, 2013
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A couple of recent comments about female clients have hit a nerve with Financial Planning readers.

At a Fidelity conference on how to engage female clients, Financial Planning blogger Kathleen Burns Kingsbury told advisors they need to let women clients tell their stories and talk about their feelings, and make sure they feel "indispensable."

"This applies to ALL clients, not only women," New Orleans planner Blair H. duQuesnay replied on Twitter.

Then, in a tip for 30 Days 30 Ways to a Better Practice, Bruce Harrington of John Hancock Financial Network said many advisors ignore women clients when both the husband and wife are clients. “If this happens and the husband dies, the wife may not feel tied to the [advisor] and could take her business elsewhere,” he said.

Financial planner Sandi Martin responded immediately, first via Twitter and later in an email:

"The points made about how women generally communicate are certainly valid, but framing the argument for adopting them 'because the man might die on you' instead of 'because she's very likely just as informed and is probably making the decisions too’ is ludicrous."

Smartest Takeaways From the Women Advisors Forum

What's your opinion? Post your comment below to weigh in.

(3) Comments
I would also add that mindful communication with clients should be your number one goal as a planner no matter their gender, or you'll quickly find yourself with an empty book. If advice like "really listen to your clients" is new information, you probably won't implement it well anyway.
Posted by Sandi M | Monday, January 28 2013 at 5:20PM ET
If you think about it the women will outlive their husbands in most cases. This makes it critical that the women be involved from the start of any planning process and remain engaged throughout. While some advisors dont spend the time needed to build a deep relationship with women they risk losing out on managing those funds once the husband passes. In reality all of my female only clients want to know that they are totally understood and need frequent communication. Something we should all be doing for our clients anyway regardless of gender.
Posted by Frank B | Tuesday, January 29 2013 at 12:42PM ET
I agree that much of the rhetoric about working with women applies to everyone, male or female. That being said, we must acknowledge that women tend to analyze information, set priorities, and make decisions differently from men. Advisors who fail to take this into account, and do not vary their communication style when speaking to a female audience, may not be as successful as those who are skilled at doing so. In addition, the way advisors design marketing materials, write brand messaging, and plan client events should all take their target audience into consideration. While pretending that women are completely different from everyone else is a big mistake, pretending they're no different at all is equally foolish.

Robert Sofia - Cofounder, Platinum Advisor Strategies

Posted by Robert S | Monday, February 11 2013 at 10:55AM ET
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