Nancy Johnson glanced around and noticed Rick Thomas engaged in light conversation with a small cluster of people. At the suggestion of one of her clients, Nancy had joined the Economic Club as a way to meet high-net-worth people like Rick. Her due diligence gave her the lowdown on him: a successful business owner with no tolerance for poorly informed financial advisors. Now she was prepared to meet him.
Accompanied by her client, Nancy strolled over to the group to join the conversation. Eventually the client introduced Nancy to Rick, and they engaged in some light conversation before Rick posed the question Nancy was waiting for. “What do you do for a living?” Rick asked.
With a confident smile she replied, “I handle financial affairs for a select group of small business owners — like Sam here.” Sam smiled, then said, “Nancy's been handling my affairs for a good while. She's the best.”
His attention piqued, Rick look directly at Nancy. “I have a rather large bond that is about to mature. How would you suggest I reinvest those funds?” he asked.
Her reply was confident, but probably not what Rick had expected. “I would be happy to advise you, but first I need to understand more about your business, clarify your long-term financial goals and review your current asset allocation strategy,” Nancy said. She emphasized that she chose clients carefully, and she thought it important for clients to take the same care in evaluating advisors. “That said, if you're available for lunch next week, maybe on Thursday, we could explore this in more detail,” Nancy said.
The gambit paid off in the form of an appointment with Rick. But neither the encounter nor the outcome happened by accident. In fact, they vividly illustrate six vital elements of successful selling to high-net-worth people.
Travel in high-net-worth circles
In Nancy's town, the Economic Club is a major draw for the type of successful business owners she favors as clients, so she made a point of getting one of her clients to sponsor her.
Sell to one prospect at a time
Instead of spreading herself thinly, Nancy did her homework, trained her sights on a single ideal prospect and worked herself into a face-to-face encounter. Because she prepared for the moment of truth, she was able to transform the introduction into an appointment.
Look for dissatisfaction
According to a March 3 New York Times article, 70 percent of high-net-worth investors say their faith in financial advisors declined last year. Nancy took this into account in her preparation for meeting Rick, and the knowledge paid off.
Sell your process
High-net-worth investors are leery of financial salespeople posturing as wealth managers. By confidently describing her process (which included being selective about clients) Nancy disarmed Rick in a way that opened the door to the successful mini-close.
Script your ideal sales meeting
Nancy rehearsed everything from the moment she entered the room to her landing a meeting with Rick. She knew exactly what she wanted to accomplish, and planned for getting it done.
Define your ideal client
A good place to start is the minimum level of investable assets you will accept from a new client. Nancy didn't simply hope Rick would meet her criteria; she did her homework.
Nancy can successfully target high-net-worth investors because she has the training and resources to back up her confident sales posture. Supporting her is a wealth management team that includes both employees and strategic alliance partners. She knows enough about financial and estate planning, small business tax laws and portfolio management to recognize when experts from her team are needed. As these details attest, selling is only the tip of the high-net-worth iceberg.
Matt Oechsli is author of Building a Successful 21st Century Financial Practice: Attracting, Servicing & Retaining Affluent Clients. oechsli.com