Marilyn explained that the relationship with a wealth advisor is very similar to that between an attorney and client, and much can be learned from this study. The study showed that many women are dissatisfied with their financial services advisors and believe that they are frequently disrespected or condescended to. One of the key problems is that frequently when women meet with an advisor or an attorney, those advisors will defer or look to the woman’s husband. Marilyn explained that one of her current clients previously consulted with a stockbroker that would not even talk to her over the phone without first speaking with her husband first. After the client’s husband died, she quickly changed stockbrokers.
One of Marilyn’s key recommendations is to focus more time on establishing trust and making a personal connection with the client. All advice should be given nonjudgmentally and the law firm should focus on the firm’s positive impact on women clients. An attorney should also spend more time on educating the client on issues or concepts and ask for understanding after explaining a concept or recommendation. The attorney should also practice active listening and avoid industry
jargon. Marilyn suggested that during initial meetings, even if a male is going to be taking a lead role, a male/female team should meet with the client. The meeting should focus on simple deliverables that address the client’s concerns. Attorneys should also prepare a prioritized “to do” list for actions both the attorney and client need to take and provide a timeline. Further
the attorney should offer to coordinate other advisors as needed.
Marilyn explained that women perform their due diligence relevant to your ability to serve their specific needs and tend to make financial decisions based on their values and priorities rather than what’s hot or what everyone else is doing. A way to build trust is to provide regular education, but also provide more visual and anecdotal support for your advice. Marilyn also stressed that it is very important to follow up after a meeting or a phone call by sending a short email and comment on one point that you think is important to the client.