Many of you no doubt are redoubling your efforts to connect with your clients during this time of isolation.
Of course that is exactly what you should be doing, but be careful -- whether you believe it or not, if you manage money on behalf of a couple and you are only speaking to the husband, you aren’t serving them very well.
The danger is – you are at risk of losing the account when the male partner dies, or even before. (80% of widows leave their family financial advisor upon the death of her partner)
Managing money on behalf of couples but failing to connect with the wife doesn't bode well for you in the future unless you start connecting with her. The good news is it is rarely too late, and this pandemic may be exactly the right time to reach out to both of them together. Both partners may be equally stress and with the possibility of illness on the horizon even if she hasn’t participated in the past, she may be more receptive now.
Here are 4 ways to do just that:
- First, if she isn’t participating in the virtual meetings you’re holding – encourage the husband to bring her to the table, get him thinking about it by saying something like, “would Mary know what to do if something happened to you?” Appeal to his ego and sense of responsibility to ensure that he doesn’t leave his family in the lurch.
- When you do talk to the couple via an online meeting tool, make sure to address her – appeal to her sense of responsibility towards her extended family. After all if she doesn’t know what is going on with the family finances and her husband dies, the burden will fall on them.
- Make your conversation relevant to both partners, consider “speaking her language” – which is more about how the money will allow them to fulfill their life goals like staying in their home or downsizing to a condo, rather than just focusing on portfolio construction and rates of return.
- And, when the crisis is over and you’re able to meet in person, consider bringing several couples together to talk about common goals. Women are collegial so this is a great way to build your own community and improve your likelihood of retaining your couples clients.
One advisor we know is using the pandemic to bring clients together virtually to discuss something of interest to all of them – travel, wine, fundraising. He invites an expert on the subject and lets the expert lead the discussion. It’s an excellent way to engage both partners, have a bit of fun -- it’s been a huge hit.