WASHINGTON -- It’s all about the story – if you want to attract and retain more women clients. 

Noting that around 70% of women who lose a spouse leave their financial advisor within three years, consultant Adri Miller-Heckman told advisors at Charles Schwab’s annual Impact conference that story-telling was critical if they wanted to attract and retain female clients. 

“Women are purpose-driven,” Miller-Heckman said. “They want to know why you care about me. They need to know ‘why.’ And stories are the way to answer those questions.” 

Advisors’ stories should be personal, and stem from their own upbringing and experience, said Miller-Heckman, author of “Keys to the Ladies Room.” Other sources can include experiences of a friend or family member or events from an advisors’ professional experience. 

The story advisors need to tell women should include what happened to them, what the result was and how that impacted the advisor. “Women are relationship-based,” Miller-Heckman said. “They want a personal connection. They want more than a business transaction. They don’t want to be prospected, sold or closed-on.” 

According to Miller-Heckman, a former trainer at Smith Barney, female clients give three times more referrals than men, have greater loyalty and focus less on fees. 

In addition to forging personal relationships, Miller-Heckman urged advisors to create a community for women in their market and hold educational events “in a non-threatening environment.” 

“Seminars are for men, ‘events’ are for women,” she said. “Make the setting comfortable, talk about women’s issues, have focus groups and hold workshops. Put your own personality into it. And have a place on your website for women only.” 

Above all, advisors shouldn’t view women simply as a target market, Miller-Heckman insisted. Instead, they should be seen as a “tribal market,” a community wanting to connect. 

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