Will She Call You

If your top client dies, who is his wife going to call for advice?  Will she call you?

Cheri Brooks, Head of Neuberger Berman’s Advisor Institute, encourages advisors to ask this question of all their top clients.

Many advisors haven’t made the spousal relationship a priority.  The advisor feels secure in the relationship when the main client is satisfied.

It’s a false sense of security.

The reality is that if your main client is a man, his spouse will probably outlive him.  Once he dies, she’ll likely move her money.

 Seventy five percent of widows change advisors within three years of their spouse’s death.

If your client’s spouse follows suit, you’ll miss out on two key opportunities.

You forgo the chance to help her manage her wealth what could be upwards of 25 years.  The average age a woman becomes a widow is 56, yet her life expectancy exceeds 80 years.

You also lose all inter-generational connections.


To make sure this doesn’t happen with your clients, follow these four steps:

1.  Make a list of all of your “A” clients and their spouses. These are the clients who make up 80% of your assets.

2.  Put each couple through a “Will she call you?” litmus test.

3. If you are unsure whether the spouse will turn to you for financial advice, commit to developing a stronger with her.

4. Engage, Engage, Engage.  Invite both spouses to attend annual review meetings, networking events, and client appreciation outings.  This is sometimes harder than it sounds.  When the wife is not the primary financial decision maker, the husband may not want her bothered with routine strategy meetings.  Don’t take “no” for an answer.

Ms. Brooks put it aptly, “This isn’t a woman’s marketing initiative.  It’s a retention and referral building strategy.”



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