Women have many financial questions for a prospective advisor, and while they nod their heads and may say they understand what you are saying, they will often leave your office feeling more confused than when they walked through your door.
Now don’t take this personally. It’s not you but more about how financial advisors have been taught to address their concerns and the solutions we provide.
Most of the questions women have for their prospective advisor stems from three sources:
- Why do you care about her?
- Why you do what you do?
- Why you make the investment decisions that you do?
I often speak about the importance of having a clear, compelling message which clarifies why you do what you do. I constantly tout the importance of having a story that tells her why you care about her, especially as a woman. But it’s the final question: Why you make the investment decisions that leave her reeling in confusion and often frustration.
As an advisor, you have been taught how to present your investment philosophy or methodology, and up until now, it may have worked. Still, I question whether your female clients ever really understood.
Today’s advisors have a responsibility to female clients to learn how to articulate this aspect of what you do in a way that provides more clarity, not confusion, more meaning, not mental mayhem.
Advisors, even those who claim to be Women’s Wealth Specialists, tend to drown women (and sometimes men) in long-winded explanations of their credentials, experience, and investment process infusing technical terms that are meaningless to most (especially women).
Words such as ‘asset allocation’ and ‘diversification’ are perceived by the industry as valuable and compelling when in reality, they confuse and bore women, often causing them to tune out. Even graphs and charts, i.e., the Ibbotson patchwork chart, overwhelms and detracts from your actual value.
Women don’t want to know how to make the clock; they want to see why they need it. The same holds with your investment philosophy.
When women understand why you invest the way you do in simple, compelling language, the barriers come down, and the relationship grows.
When presenting your investment philosophy to women, the most powerful way to gain their trust and understanding is to start using clichés. Yes, I’m talking about old-fashioned clichés that already have meaning, not financial clichés meaningful to those in the industry. A well-known cliche provides greater value, which enhances women’s confidence and ability to understand.
When the moment arrives where you must share your role as their investment advisor, using clichés will not just create more understanding; it will validate your investment recommendations.
Instead of overwhelming your client with technical terms and financial jargon they aren’t familiar with, by incorporating clichés, your clients will feel more comfortable and confident in your approach and ultimate investment decisions.
How advisors can put clichés to work
Here are a few examples of how you and your clients will benefit the moment you begin incorporating three clichés into your investment repertoire:
- You’ll experience a receptive client: The moment the male advisor shared her clichés, the woman nodded and was totally receptive to the recommendations.
- Clichés also positively affected her husbands: After using her three clichés, she realized it wasn’t just the women who appreciated this approach. The men seemed more relaxed and focused on the investment recommendations.
- Using clichés allows you to prioritize your time: By using his three clichés, he didn’t have to spend time explaining what he does. Because they grasped his intent early on, he was able to spend more time focusing on the client rather than the “efficient frontier.”
- Clichés are a simple and effective approach: Advisors who incorporate these clichés into their presentations find themselves answering fewer questions, saving them a ton of time and energy.
- Using clichés builds confidence: When the advisor shared her clichés with the couple, she could see the husband and the wife’s receptivity. But by the end of the meeting, the woman expressed greater confidence in the decisions they were making because she “understood.”
In your desire to incorporate clichés into your presentation, they must adhere to three fundamental principles:
- It must be your core belief and a pure reflection of you and your approach. Using some other advisor’s examples will not work unless it comes from your internal beliefs; it will not integrate well with your message and ultimately infuse more doubt from the prospect or client.
- It must be very well known—the older, more established cliche, the more significant the impact.
- You must be able to explain why and how that cliché applies to the investment decisions you make.
Sample Script Using Clichés for Advisors:
Assuming your tribal market are women that are suddenly single and are now responsible for their financial future. Your style leans towards the more conservative side; what you say may sound something like this:
Mrs. Smith, It’s important you understand my investment philosophy and why we make our decisions. Our core philosophy can be summed up with three clichés:
A Penny Saved is a Penny Earned. You have worked hard to get to this place in life; our priority is to protect your future by ensuring you will never run out.
All that Glitters is Not Gold. We look for solid investment choices with a consistent history of steady growth, not the latest and greatest investment solutions that have not withstood the test of time.
I’d Rather be the Tortoise than the Hare. Achieving your investment objectives is not a race. We prefer to focus our investments in a way that provides a steady, often conservative pace determined by your long-term plan and goals. We like few detours, less stress, and consistent progress.
As a financial advisor committed to working with women, identifying your three clichés representing your philosophy towards investing money can substantially impact building trust, clarity, and the confidence women need to move forward.