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Build Trust With Female Prospects

You’ve heard it before: Women make 85 percent of a household’s decisions. Yet presenting financial services to a woman in the same fashion as you would present to a man is a grave mistake financial planners make every day. Why? Women think differently from men. Women listen differently. And they make decisions based, in part, on how they feel.

Selling to women is all about trust. Without trust, they won’t buy from you or give you referrals. It’s that simple. Here are five quick tips for building trust with the women you meet.

1. Find the CPI (Common Point of Interest)

There is an old saying that you have two ears and one mouth, so use them accordingly. This is especially true when meeting with women. A woman will tell you her story but you must be willing to listen actively. Be sure to nod your head, draw her out and confirm what you’ve learned. Pay special attention to what she leads with – her business or her family. This will provide you with a clue to what’s most important to her and help you understand the type of woman she is – entrepreneurial or family-oriented. 

The entrepreneurial woman is similar to you. She wants the information distilled and presented clearly. She wants to understand the gains and any risks, and she’s not afraid of pulling the trigger. When dealing with the family-oriented woman, you’ll want to make sure you listen carefully to what she says. What are her fears? What does security mean to her?  What can you do to help?

CAUTION: Understanding her body language is the key. Women can give off false positives when listening to a salesman. She may be nodding and even half smiling at you, but 90 percent of the time, she’s not engaged in the conversation. Instead, she’s likely to be thinking “Geez, this guy has gone on for over 10 minutes and he hasn’t asked me what I think or what I feel. What a total jerk!”  Women don’t like ego, they don’t like sales pitches and they don’t like it when men don’t take them seriously.

SOLUTION: Engage her in the conversation. Find out her interests and hobbies. This will provide you with a solid relationship down the road.

2.  Focus on the benefit, not the products

At the end of the day, women want the same thing that men do with regard to their finances. They want to be assured they will be financially independent. Becoming “rich” is nice, but the meaning of being “rich” is what women truly want. Tell her that her kids can afford to go to college, or the family can take a vacation each year, or that she can leave a legacy for her grandkids, or that she and her husband can afford to retire without having to sacrifice their lifestyle.

The goal in asking questions is to understand the family’s financial goals and dreams, as well as to validate her feelings and concerns. Continue asking questions until you have a clear understanding of what she wants. Then show her you fully understand those needs by repeating what she’s shared with you.

3.  Never, ever scare them

Women don’t buy on fear. When you present a solution to a woman, focus on what that solution will do for her and how much better she will feel when that issue is taken care of.

CAUTION: It’s going to be very easy for you to present solutions. This is what men do marvelously. But that’s not what she’s interested in. She’s looking for a teammate to help her find the solution, not the go-to answer.

SOLUTION: Draw her fears out and present different alternatives for her to consider. Ask more questions to clarify her thoughts and feelings.

4. Keep the communication flowing

Keep in touch with women throughout the year by systemizing your communication. It’s no mystery that everyone wants to feel important. Send a review letter, a holiday card or a newsletter. It doesn’t matter what you send as long as your client feels valued. Remember the CPI that was first established? You learned her interests and hobbies. If you know she loves flowers, then make sure her birthday card has flowers on it. Don’t send the same sailboat card that you send to everyone else. Your thoughtfulness will prove to her that she matters “as a person” first and as a customer second. This will cement the trust she’s placing in you.

5. Unlock the referral power

“Marketing Goddess” Rebecca Booth, an expert in marketing to women, said, “Female clients will refer up to 28 people if they are happy with their experience with you. Men, on the other hand, will average 13 referrals.” 

Jennifer Alford is financial advisor and vice president of Creative Financial Partners in Perrysburg, Ohio. She is vice president of NAIFA-Ohio and was one of the recipients of NAIFA’s Advisor Today Four Under 40 Awards in 2006. Contact her at [email protected].

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