September 18, 2020
With the effects of COVID-19 affecting our lives and making us re-evaluate our priorities, one group taking a hit from the pandemic is women. Women tend to be in key roles such as healthcare – and in an analysis of government data, one in three jobs designated as “essential” were held by women at the start of the pandemic (source: The New York Times). Match that with the 76% of female public-school teachers who face a different and potentially difficult back-to-school season (source: National Center for Education Statistics, May 2020).
Women also tend to be the primary caregivers for children and other family members. Now more than ever, women are balancing a plethora of responsibilities while the lines between career and parenthood have become indefinitely blurred as a result of quarantine, working from home, and virtual classrooms. They are also fearing for their jobs – approximately 60% of the jobs eliminated in the first wave of pandemic-induced layoffs were held by women (source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, April 2020). These challenges present special financial hurdles for women, but as a group, they may be up to it, especially with the right guidance.
A financial force
Despite the uncertainty they face, women are a financial force, in both good times and bad. They are the natural planners and decision makers, especially when it involves financial decisions. It’s been noted that as much as 90% of all women will have sole responsibility for their own or their family’s future at some point in their lives (source: Forbes). With the shifting priorities caused by the pandemic, now is the time to engage with female clients, show that you understand the pressures they’re enduring, and help them map out a plan for the future.
How to make an impact
What kinds of actions can you take that will help you connect specifically with women in your practice and show you understand? Here are a few suggestions:
- Connect and communicate – If you have not heard from many of your female clients, now is the time to reach out. Don’t underestimate the value of the simple “How are you?” email. Women appreciate and respond to genuine communication and interaction. Let this be an open door for a phone conversation or video chat at a convenient time for them.
- Be relatable – Now is not the time for a sales pitch. Instead, take a step back, listen to the questions or concerns, and put a realistic action plan in place. When reaching out to female clients, ask open-ended questions about how they and their family members are coping with the current environment. If you can, share some of your own experiences and personal challenges to relate in your shared struggles.
- Tap into your network – Women are experts when it comes to networking! Consider organizing a group of your female clients to connect and share advice on virtual schooling, financial advice, or healthy living ideas. Leveraging your network to help your clients help each other is a great way to form stronger relationships. Aside from any organized networking groups, staying connected to female clients is a proven way to ensure they will remember you and recommend you to other friends and family members.