Women advisors need to use male-dominated activities, like golf, to make contacts and build relationships, advisors said at the NAPFA National conference in Chicago.

At the conference, a session titled, “How golf helps women gain the upper hand in business,” drew a strong audience.

Kate Healy, the director of solutions marketing and industry relations at TD Ameritrade Institutional, explained that several sessions were designed to help female advisors advance.

“Golf has an ability to connect with clients, prospect and strategic alliances to build relationships in a meaningful way,” Healy said.

Leslie Andrews, the president of Leslie Andrews Golf who presented on the topic, said she began playing golf at the age of 30 and encouraged all the attendees to take up the game.  “If you have played mini golf, you are a golfer,” she said.

She said advisors are in a relationship business in which their success relies on referrals and constant prospecting of wealthy individuals.  For those reasons, golf is a perfect fit.

But most women do not golf because they are intimidated or do not know how to get started.  “Women have more trouble getting off the practice tee to the course,”  Andrew said. She explained that is a gap compared to men.  “Even women that play golf don’t use it for business.”

She cited a study that showed almost half of women felt excluded from networks.  Of those, golf is cited the most.

Sometimes, people complain to Andrews that by suggesting women join male activities, she is taking an anti-feminist stance. “I am not telling women to be like men, I am saying they need to be where the action is,” she contended.

Andrews said golf allows you to know a person better than if you went to dinner with them because you have an opportunity to learn if they are honest, a risk taker and even humorous. But beware: the other golfers can learn a lot about you too.

Adrienne Wax, principal at Leslie Andrews Golf, took over the second part of the presentation and asked the attendees, “What can woman do to change the equation?” 

Wax pointed out a gender difference, saying, “Men think they are entitled to play if they can find their way to the golf course.  On the other hand, many women think they need to be as good as the people that they watch on TV.” 

Both speakers said it is a myth that men at business outings are good golfers, so women shouldn’t feel nervous to participate.

“Sometimes women feel like they have to be perfect,” Wax said. “Sometimes we feel we have to be better at men just to be equal.”

Mike Byrnes founded Byrnes Consulting to provide consulting services to help advisors become even more successful. His expertise is in business planning, marketing strategy, business development, client service and management effectiveness, along with several other areas. Read more at www.byrnesconsulting.com.