One of the biggest challenges advisors face is how best to connect and engage with their existing women clients and reach new prospects. Women are a critically important market. In the U.S., women exercise decision-making control over $11.2 trillion — that’s 39% of the nation’s estimated $28.6 trillion of investable assets.1
Ready to connect with this growing market? We recently spoke with top financial advisors to learn about the best strategies they are using to reach women clients – here are four ideas that work:
At Threshold Group, Lauren Long has used the firm’s long history of investing for impact as a tool to build close relationships with clients and grow her practice.
The question “What do you care about in the world?” may not seem like an obvious question for an advisor to ask. However, when many of your clients are foundations or families that are charitable, it is an essential question. It engages your clients and prospects in a different, more personal way.
Lauren frames the conversation around values and what issues their money can help them solve through investing. By letting her clients do the talking and by listening to what matters most to them, she’s built deep, authentic relationships that lead to business growth.
When organizing events for prospecting, Lauren sticks to a specific theme such as values based investing or generational planning for parents. Following up with various touch points is also a critical step – she’ll often send a book, article, or other relevant materials that are specific to her clients’ personal interests.
Jessica Merino of Merino Wealth Management, has hit the ball out of the park with a prospecting event that keeps it simple and has a clear goal.
After hosting many client/prospecting events and not seeing referrals come in, Jessica decided to take a more direct approach. She re-named her monthly event “Referral Happy Hour” – so there was no longer a question of the intention of the event – and she asked clients to bring a person they would refer. She didn’t need to change the venue, the food, or the music to make the event successful – the key was to be transparent and clearly ask for what she wanted to achieve.
The Referral Happy Hours are held monthly in a casual environment where guests are encouraged to come when it’s convenient and leave when they need to – a “swing-by” mentality. Guests sign-in and receive a follow-up email offering a financial consultation. These events are easy for Jessica to coordinate, generate new business and are fun for clients and prospects.
Tom Huvane of UBS decided to focus his business development efforts on women investors after he realized that much of his firm’s current growth was due to existing women clients referring other women. His women clients were spreading the word about working with him and before he knew it those referrals were rapidly turning into clients.
Tom sat down with his team to discuss how to build on this organic growth and quickly realized that he was talking to a room full of men. So, he started to host intimate, round table discussions with select women clients who were invited to bring a friend. Tom’s team asked the women clients what inspires them to work with an advisor and received valuable feedback. For example, they learned that many women like to learn through storytelling and enjoy the opportunity to connect with other women who have gone through life changing events and have come out on the other side.
Tom acknowledges that this is an ongoing learning process and that it has taken time and patience to build a strategy that makes his current clients happy and grows his business. Knowing what you don’t know, asking clients directly what they want and listening to their feedback has been the key to his team’s success working with women.
Noel Brown of Morgan Stanley, has developed a successful approach to prospecting women investors with a series she began called Women & Wealth. The goal is to secure new business by curating women investor events in cities across the U.S. that speak specifically to the needs of women. Each 3-hour event consists of multiple speakers who address topics of interest to women investors and aims to empower them financially.
Noel acknowledges that many women have a level of distrust with the financial services industry – to address this, she creates a comfortable environment where women can talk freely about financial matters without the jargon and the egos. A typical Women & Wealth event is held in a private room at a top restaurant, featuring brunch and offering childcare options. These events have developed Noel’s personal brand and have built new, trusted, relationships with women investors.
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1 Harnessing the Power of the Purse: Female Investors and Global Opportunities for Growth.
The Pax Ellevate Global Women’s Index Fund, managed by Pax Ellevate Management LLC, is the result of a partnership between Pax World Management LLC and Ellevate Asset Management LLC, whose principal is Sallie Krawcheck. Pax and Ellevate came together because they share the same vision about the critical role that gender diversity plays in business success over time, as well as the investment opportunity associated with investing in women. Pax has long been a recognized leader in investing in women and advocating for greater representation of women on boards. Ms. Krawcheck, one of the most powerful advocates for women in the financial services industry, is Chair of Pax Ellevate Management LLC and a trustee of the Fund.
The statements and opinions expressed are those of the author as of the date of this report. All information is historical and not indicative of future results and subject to change. This information is not a recommendation to buy or sell any security.