50 Shades of Red Lipstick
Liz is a member of The Motley Fool Blog Network -- entries represent the personal opinion of the blogger and are not formally edited.
What do 50 shades of red lipstick have to do with stock picks? Well, if you're a portfolio manager with a coterie of wealthy female clients, it would be in your best interest to understand exactly why there are 50 shades. If lipstick were a product for men, there would be one shade and one shade only. And, it would be called "red." But for women, we need at least 50 shades, and they go by the names of crimson, poppy, sangria, vermilion, apple, ruby, etc. I'm sure you get the picture, but again, why should you care? Well, maybe because women own over 50 percent of all stocks and control over 50 percent of all private wealth. So to keep your female clients pleased with and loyal to you, here are 10 insights that might help:
1. Relationships matters most. Yes, you have to manage their portfolio to maximize returns and do your job, but you also have to maintain a relationship that works for her. Even if you were smart enough to buy AIG (NYSE: AIG) in March of 2009 at an adjusted share price of $ 5.87 and sell it roughly two years later in January of 2011 at $51.76 a share, or Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) back in 2004 for $11.18 and have made her lots of moola, that's still not enough. We women have a need to like whom we are dealing with, and to feel good about the fact that you have all our money.
2. Always do what you say you are going to do. This goes for the smallest of things. If you say you will call at 10 am on Friday - then call. If you don't for some reason, then you will join the ranks of every ex-husband or ex-boyfriend that never called when they said that they would. Trust me, she may not mention it but she will never forget it.
3. Ask us how we are, and let us talk if we need to. You don't have to offer a solution or change your recommendations, but you do have to listen. If she wants to tell you about a penny stock that her plumber recommended - let her.
4. Be sure to pick at least one stock that she can relate to. Of course the fundamentals have to be there, but stock picks like Limited Brands, Disney and Colgate-Palmolive are clear examples of stocks that have products that she's familiar with.
5. Teach us something when you can. This is an easy one. If you are recommending Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) for example, don't be afraid to talk about earnings per share of 3.65 and dividend yield of 3.60, etc. All women love to feel included, and know what you are thinking, even if she doesn't completely understand.
6. Never, ever, patronize us. While some women don't know a thing about investing or portfolio management (that's why we hire you), that doesn't mean they're idiots! Many do want to engage and learn. Also, when a brand like Beam's (NYSE: BEAM) SkinnyGirl cocktails (that caters to women) goes onto to claim the rank of the fastest growing liquor brand in 2011, people take notice. We're quite willing to spend our money on things that speak to us on a personal level.
7. Appeal to our altruistic tendencies. Women care about social issues and tend to see money more as a means to an end. Do research on the companies that are most charitable in terms of donations. Discussing generous companies like Kroger (NYSE: KR) who was #1 in 2011 in profits donated and Macy's (#2) would be a way to show her that you're sensitive to what she cares about.
8. Always remember that returns aren't everything. Refer to insight #1. Many portfolio managers think that if their performance is good, they don't have to do anything more. This is just not so! Performance is your number one priority my friend, but not hers. Just remember that there are 50 shades of lipstick. It's more complicated for us.
9. Don't be short on the phone. Call or meet with your client only when you have extra time. A woman will take it personally if you have too much going on, and will sense that you're distracted. Call her when the market is closed, when you can give her your total focus.
10. Let us know a bit about you. When appropriate, share something personal about yourself. Talk about your kids, your hobbies, or the things that you love. And, don't be afraid to express your feelings about certain stock picks in discussion. It will make you more human, more warm and approachable, and she'll love you for that!
Women are different than men and so to garner their loyalty, you may or may not want to adjust your approach. And while it may seem like an annoyance to some, others will view it as the huge opportunity that it is.
CoachLizzy has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple and Johnson & Johnson. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend American International Group, Apple, Beam, and Johnson & Johnson. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.If you have questions about this post or the Fool’s blog network, click here for information.