Kansas City: “We’ve been schooled in all of our training to never call a client and bother them with ‘chit-chat’ – but we always had to make certain to have created some reason for engaging in a business discussion…” a slightly annoyed Geoff opined as he segued into his point “…and now you’re telling us that it’s important to contact our clients about non-business issues.”
Geoff’s statement was delivered in the form of a question. My entire presentation was about understanding today’s affluent. There was a strong emphasis on the importance of engaging in non-business activities with today’s affluent to strengthen relationships and build trust. Right before opening the floor for Q & A, I used an example of a simple non-business phone call being part of that process. My response to Geoff’s question was to the point, “Our research is clear about this, but remember, we research the affluent and most of the training financial advisors have received isn’t based on how to acquire and develop loyal affluent clients. So in other words, there is often some unlearning that needs to occur.”
I feel compelled to bring this to the forefront because it’s become a common issue; a financial advisor in the audience raises his or her hand and says something to the effect that what I’ve just communicated (my keynote on affluent marketing) is the opposite of how they’ve been trained. And my response is always the same; “This is why we conduct annual research on both the affluent and financial advisors. It’s your responsibility as a financial advisor to have a personal filtering system for determining fact from fiction.”
The bottom line – there’s a lot of white noise, and quite frankly misinformation regarding the affluent. How do you define affluent? Our definition is $1 million plus investable assets. There is a big difference in spending habits, disposable income, and the need for financial advisory services. The more assets, the more clients are looking for a primary financial advisor.
The real shame of it all, as I explained to Geoff, is that less than 5% of financial advisors are consistently acquiring new affluent clients in an environment (today) – and this is at a time where the stars are aligned for acquisition.
Why? I don’t think there’s any one reason. But allow me to outline an Affluent Immersion Strategy:
Tip 1: Identify Your Ideal Prospect
- Investable Assets
- Private Client or Institutional
- Services Delivered: Money Management or Comprehensive Wealth Management
- Generational Planning: Yes or No
** Although most advisors are interested in acquiring more affluent clients, if you’re not one of them, you can stop reading as your previous sales training is probably sufficient (Geoff was targeting $1 million plus prospects)
Tip 2: Become a Student of Your Ideal Prospect
- Peruse my WealthManagement.com columns from 2012 to date as the majority of them deal with useful information gleaned from our annual affluent research projects.
- Determine which current clients fit the profile of your ideal prospect.
- Identify clients who have the potential to be upgraded to ideal status.
Tip 3: Identify Ideal Prospects in Your Community
- Analyze each of your ideal clients 7 spheres-of-influence (colleagues, neighbors, recreational, professional, family, organizations, and friends) to uncover connections that meet your ideal prospect criteria.
- Connect on LinkedIn with as many of your ideal clients as possible and begin to analyze their connections.
- Make a Master 2015 Prospecting List – people you are targeting to develop a relationship with and transition into clients.
- Identify the CPAs and other professionals who work with similar profile clients.
Tip 4: Develop a Relationship Marketing Plan
- Get a personal introduction to one ideal prospect per week in some form of a social setting.
- Attend one social event per week that attracts those who fit your ideal profile
- Host one “fun” small non-business intimate event per month
- Determine clients and specific guests you will invite to each event
- Develop a personal relationship with CPA and other professionals identified in Tip 3.
Tip 5: Execute
- Consistency of execution is the key – the affluent require more romancing as they need to get to know you to the extent that they can trust you to oversee their family’s financial affairs.
Matt Oechsli is author of Building a Successful 21st Century Financial Practice: Attracting, Servicing & Retaining Affluent Clients. www.oechsli.com