Women & Legacy Planning

Thinking Outside the ‘Malebox’ to Attract the Female Investor

by Tony DiLeonardi

For female advisors reading this post, please bear with me as much of what I'm going to say may be first-hand knowledge for you.  However, I've witnessed (and yes, even committed) too many missteps to take the topic lightly. So I'll continue exploring the subject and move on to offering actionable ideas that may be incorporated into your plan.
After considerable effort at analyzing your service niche and local client market to establish the ideal female client for your practice, appropriately attracting female investors requires rethinking the approach that has dominated the industry's male-focused practices. This is where I emphasize the importance of builiding an intimate connection, but specifically emotionallly connecting with women which requires a different approach than with your male clients.
Through discussions with your peers and aligning with trained professionals, I've learned that most men and women connect differently.  Men's relationships tend to be task-focused and independent, frequently centered around an activity or event.  Their communications tend to be competitive in nature and rarely focused on creating personal bonds. In contrast, women are generally relationship focused and cooperative, connecting by talking and sharing personal stories. As they interact, they work to stay on an equal plane. 
Now you may say "Yeah, I've read it all before and get it, men and women are different."  However, my question to you is how you've applied the knowledge to your business practice? 
Do you continue to host the same presentation and discussion sessions, striving to cement relationships through competitive golf outings and sporting events?  If so, you may be losing female client prospects faster than you can get a beverage during the seventh inning stretch.
Women tend to appreciate a communicative and consultative approach that includes cooperative dialogue about reaching their goals.  That being said, it's important we highlight both equal value and normal variety across genders.  A competitive or cooperative relationship style is not better or worse, it's just different.  We also need to remember that not every man and every woman fits the general tendency.
There are men who are highly cooperative and relationship focused and women who are not.  People have the unique ability to adapt.  For those readers who relate instinctively, this is an opportunity to increase flexibility.  You will become more effective if you understand your own natural style and learn to match a female client's preference.