There’s more than One Way to Learn (and Teach) about Money

05.24.2016

One of the worst mistakes financial advisors can make when prospecting is to assume that their clients really don’t want to learn how their money works—that they’re happy to receive sound advice and leave it at that.

Obvious? I beg to differ. When it comes to reaching female clients, especially new ones with priorities that may diverge from a traditional client base, many advisors still think that authority will carry the day. It doesn’t.

Women do want to learn about their money, and most expect that a relationship with a financial advisor will be based on mutual respect. For the professional, that means making educational opportunities available—and taking them seriously.

Look at it this way: When people recognize their lack of knowledge about their money, it can be a vulnerable moment. If they are willing to move outside their comfort zone, it’s not much to ask of their advisors to do the same by rethinking educational outreach.

Website and Social Media

The quickest route to beefing up the educational component of your service is to become a gatekeeper of sorts. You’re always learning—aren’t you? You can also be an educational conduit for your clients. But you need to be smart about filtering out what they don’t need.

So try to think like a client when you evaluate new research, articles or trends. How could the information be relevant to investors? Does it pertain directly to their priorities? Avoid the data dump: your discriminating touch should keep only what’s relevant on tap for clients.

Social media is now part of many marketing strategies. Twitter is a great way to link to media without tooting your own horn too loudly. The fact that you are linking or retweeting is implicit and usually sufficient to communicate your endorsement of the information.

Events: Think Beyond the Seminar

Your online engagement is important, but it’s more a calling card than the method by which you learn about your clients’ needs. If the greater part of success for most people is showing up, for advisors the formula is to create the setting and then show up. It requires a little more thought, but can pay out over time.

Regarding women, it doesn’t hurt to begin with the premise that more of them are doing more, and trying to do it all. They often are looking for practical applications of financial planning. If an idea or discipline will help make life more manageable, you can bet they’ll be interested.

Consider big, evergreen topics: Saving for yourself versus saving for kids; approach to risk, and how it affects a portfolio; the sandwich generation blues (that is, caring for aging parents and kids simultaneously). These topics are too general to be condensed into one event, but they can provide a theme. They can be made more approachable by applying a light touch:

  • Discuss risk by hosting a financial professional who weighs risk for a living.
  • If you have clients with young children, stage an event at which a parent with college-age kids talks about what to expect and what’s worth an investment.
  • Invite clients and their aging parents to the same event, and encourage a sharing of views.

The primary goal is to get people talking. Once that happens, what was once “educational”—and boring—begins to sound more like good information. That’s relatable and clients will appreciate it.

Judi Rosenthal

Judi Rosenthal is a New York-based financial industry consultant and self-promotion coach renowned for her ability to win sales in any situation. She is also a recognized authority on niche marketing and coaching financial advisors in the techniques of amplifying sales through a well-engineered personal brand.

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Judi Rosenthal
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