Marketing guru Faith Popcorn, who is considered a trend expert, posed this insightful question to an audience in San Francisco back in 1999: "Since men and women are obviously different, why do we continue to market to them in the same way?"
Let's take Faith's concept a step further: When meeting with a couple, why do we typically engage one partner in the relationship in conversation, when we know the deal is an important financial transaction involving both partners? Aren't we opening ourselves up to problems by not marketing to each one?
How many times have you built a rapport with one person, only to have their spouse take that away by sending their business elsewhere? Chances are we've all had this happen. And we have no one to blame but ourselves.
One survey indicates that 58% of all women feel disrespected by their Financial Advisors. Other studies state that more than 80% of the time, the initial point of contact in financial transactions is with the man in a couple. In the remaining 20% of cases, when the woman is your first point of contact, do you generally continue to maintain a relationship only with that woman, or do you reach out to the second party to ensure that you've cemented an agreement with both of them to work with you?
Use this script in the future to ensure that you don't leave yourself open to problematic circumstances:
"Mrs. Jones, I have had the privilege of speaking with your husband, Mr. Jones. I'd like to make sure that you are also well educated on the decision the two of you are about to make. How do you feel about conducting a conference call between the three of us? That way, you will not have to repeat any of the crucial information to him during dinner tonight."
You will often get a response along these lines:
"Actually, he leaves those decisions up to me. I am the numbers person in the relationship, but thank you for offering."
At the very least you've demonstrated that you are courteous, thoughtful, and concerned about keeping all involved parties well informed.