Are Your Conversations Winning or Losing You Clients?

What do you suppose people think when an advisor says, “I manage my clients’ wealth using a proprietary investment process that helps us manage risk using a strategic asset allocation decision model”.

  • This advisor is successful.
  • This is an advisor I want to work with.
  • This advisor is appropriate for a client like me.
  • I am interested in his/her secrets to success.

Most investors, male or female, are not likely to think any of those things. The question is why – Why would they not want to do business with this advisor? Likely because this advisor is not saying anything unique.

In fact, this introduction likely says…”It’s all about me…I only want to deal with people with money…I have a process I apply to everyone…I assume everyone wants risk management and everyone believes in asset allocation even if they don’t understand it.”

The bottom line is – while this advisor hasn’t said anything that is wrong, it sounds very much like a “canned-one-size-fits-all-approach”.

A slightly better approach

Consider this exchange between a potential client and an advisor:

Investor (I): Can you tell me something about yourself?

Advisor (A): I’ve been a financial advisor for 15 years following a successful career as a lawyer. I’m originally from Small Town, Province/State but when I attended University here, I decided to stay because I liked the City and all it had to offer. I’m a CFA, Certified Financial Planner and Certified Investment Manager. 

I: Who are your clients? 

A: I work with entrepreneurs…professionals…executives…and retirees.

I: What’s your process for investing? 

A: We work with you to uncover your objectives and then we apply an institutional investment approach to manage risk and deliver growth for the long term.

I: What services do you offer? 

A: We offer everything from financial planning, retirement planning, income planning, estate planning, insurance and other strategies that help protect the wealth of our clients.

I: Which of those do your clients use the most? 

A: That depends on the client and their goals in working with us.

I: How much do you charge for your services? 

A: We charge a fee on assets – which means we are completely neutral when it comes to choosing products to help you achieve your goals. That fee is based on the assets you assign to us – for those under $1M we charge an average of 1.50% +/-. For those with assets above $1M, we charge based on their needs and that could be anywhere from 1% or less. How much are we talking about in your case?

Certainly a step in the right direction – a better approach for sure – the potential investor is asking typical questions and the advisor is giving reasonable answers. But in order to win female clients, the conversation has to reflect an understanding of her, her issues and her priorities. Here is what that conversation might look like.

A much better approach to win female clients 

Investor (I): Can you tell me something about yourself?

Advisor (A): I’ve been a financial advisor for 15 years following a successful career as a lawyer. I’m originally from Small Town, Province/State where my mother taught me how to be nice to people. Just about the time I attended University here, my father died and I helped my mother tackle the financial issues left behind. She’d never been involved, having left financial matters to dad. That was the pivotal experience that led me to become a financial advisor. Of course, I now hold a number of designations to help me invest for my clients but my actual job is getting to know people really well so I can help them achieve their goals. 

A: Can you tell me what brought you here today?

I: Well we just want to review our options. You see my partner has been diagnosed with cancer and we think we need something different from what we’ve been getting up to this point. A plan that includes home care, maybe even selling our house and certainly figuring out what happens if things don’t work out with treatment.

A: That’s a lot of change in your life. What’s important to you now?

I: Being prepared, no matter what happens.

A: That is important. We have several clients with health issues that have altered their plans for the future. One in particular that I’m thinking about her husband who ran the family business had a stroke and now not only do they want to make sure he has the best quality of life but she also has to run the business in his place. It’s been challenging for them but we helped develop a plan for getting it all done, using resources they hadn’t even thought about.

I: So, what did you do for these clients? 

A: We sat down and had an in-depth talk (which happened over several meetings) about all the pieces that had to be taken into consideration – everything, not just the money side. We talked about who was available in the family or in the community to help. We connected her to the right expertise that already existed here in town and helped her through the medical bureaucracy to access services that are available to families facing taking care of a loved one who has had a stroke. It’s still a lot for her but now at least she has a plan and a few more people helping out.

I: Our accountant retired last year and we haven’t had a chance to find someone new. Could you help us with that?

A: We work with several local accountants and would be happy to connect you with them so you can pick someone who is a good match for your needs.

I: What about changing everything to my name in case things don’t work out? 

A: We would also help with that. Our network includes business and estate/trust lawyers. We even have service providers that can handle yard work as well as home nursing and medical supply providers if you need them.

I: How much do you charge for your services? 

A: Whatever works for you. We can charge a fee on your assets or we can do a retainer or we can do fees for services used. We can run some numbers for each scenario and see what suits you best. We can always start with one fee arrangement and review it later to make adjustments. But let’s start with what’s important to you right now.

Which discussion do you think is more likely to result in winning over your female client?

For more information, visit our website or get our book INVEST(in)HER The Smart Financial Advisor’s Guide to Winning Female Clients in 6 Easy Steps now available on Amazon.

Related: If Cold Calling Doesn’t Work With Women, What Does?