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Have you ever been ghosted? You had a great initial prospect meeting but you never heard from them again?

Maybe it was because you left an important influencer out of the discussion. Did you inadvertently leave out the woman, not realizing the influence she maintains in the relationship?

I am going to tell you how to win over female clients by not losing them at the onset. A fresh realization about the concerns and expectations of female prospects will go a long way to avoiding that “ghosting” experience.

I am going to talk about winning with women who are part of a couple, married or as partners. Women in relationships typically have an inherent power of influence that is impossible to measure, although everyone who gives it a little thought knows it exists. While they may not be the power-house earner, they retain a power that is far greater – I call it “absolute veto power.” If they don’t like you in the first meeting or feel marginalized in any way, by the time they get to the parking lot and close their car door, you, the advisor are history.

Having been in the financial services business for more than 30 years, I always found it fascinating to learn my peers believed that it was the male in a relationship who drove the proverbial bus. In situations where the man is the wage earner and the wife stays home with kids, it would be easy to suspect he had the final say in all things financial. But that could be a fatal assumption. Then too, even I was not always aware of the dynamic that exists in a couple and how much power she had over decisions.

So how did I figure this out?

In 1993, my husband and I decided to put a pool in our backyard. I left the project to him, because his attention to detail far exceeds mine. At some point in the process, Bob told me the pool guy wanted to meet with both of us to discuss the pool pumps. I told him I had no interest in the discussion, but the man insisted I be there. I cleaned up my desk and arrived at home in time for the meeting. The pool guy was right on time; his greeting was effusive – in his thick Texas accent, he kept saying he was, “so glad to know me.”

I offered him a glass of iced tea and the meeting began. What transpired next was…simply amazing. As he went through the details of the pool and the pool pumps, he never once looked at me, spoke to me or even acknowledged I was sitting at the table. It was unbelievable. As my fury rose, I sat there, thinking: “This is really interesting. This man insisted I be here; he made me wrap up my day at the office early so I could attend. Now I’m here and he is completely ignoring me.”

In what I can only describe as a quiet rage, I sat there stewing….but more importantly, pondering whether there might be a lesson to be learned by this interaction. Keep in mind, I was relatively new in the financial services business. But all of my training had been centered on the idea that it was imperative, in a couple situation, that both parties be present. I wondered if I had ever treated a woman in a relationship with less than absolute inclusion. True, it was generally the man in the situation who was the bread-winner. But I thought, “Certainly, I’ve never treated a woman like this, have I?” It was easy to go off in my own thoughts because I was being summarily ignored.