There is such a thing as the affluent touch: It's a matter of attitude and approach. In fact, this quality is often the very thing that makes one financial advisor more successful at courting the affluent than another. But it's not terribly difficult to develop. Here are some of the essential elements:
Know thyself: You must be comfortable in your own skin if you expect to master the world of the affluent. It is important to recognize who you are: strengths, weaknesses, goals, dreams, and immediate aspirations as they relate to the affluent.
The best odds are that you and your affluent clients and prospects are products of a middle-class upbringing, which means that you have more in common with them than you might think. Your motivators and goals are likely to be similar, if not identical, to those of your affluent clients and prospects: family, comfort, safety, education, thrift, honesty and respect. So empathize and be yourself.
Be a Life-Long Learner: Working with the affluent is not for the lazy, or the faint of heart. Either you continue to learn and grow every day, or you are dying a slow death on a daily basis. You not only need to be a student of the affluent, you need to be a student in all areas of life. The broader your base of knowledge, and the more varied your interests, the greater will be your understanding of your clients.
In the words of Charles T. Munger, Warren Buffet's business partner, “In my whole life, I have known no wise people who didn't read all the time — none, zero. You'd be amazed at how much Warren reads — and at how much I read.” Enough said.
Be Willing to Serve: I don't even know you, but I do know that you like to be served attentively. Whether it's in an upscale restaurant, dealing with your dentist, or visiting your local post office, you want good service. You expect good service — no, you demand good service! And when you fail to get it, you are understandably unimpressed.
The affluent crave good service, and most are in denial about that fact. Even though mature affluent boomers admire the working-class hero, they like to be coddled and fussed over. They work hard in their professional lives, so they want to be taken care of in their personal lives.
You will experience the power of this concept in every personal interaction you have: within your family, in your friendships, and dealing with colleagues, clients and prospects. The more you are willing to serve, the better your relationships will be.
Be Personal: The affluent may not be actively looking for new friends, but one of the essential components for developing a healthy and enduring relationship with these types of clients is letting them get to know you. As simple as this might appear to be on the surface, our research shows that some advisors have trouble on this front. Too many financial advisors put on airs, thinking that's what their affluent clients want. Consequently, they operate at arm's length.
But the affluent want to feel as though they have made a personal connection. Again, it's a straightforward concept, but nonetheless it can be hard to put into practice in today's digital age.
Follow these simple rules, and you will draw more affluent clients and prospects to you.
Writer's BIO: Matt Oechsli is author of Building a Successful 21st Century Financial Practice: Attracting, Servicing & Retaining Affluent Clients. oechsli.com