Getting a Thumbs Up From the Wealthy

Think for a moment about your affluent clients and their centers-of-influence. As you scroll through these images in the theater of your mind, try to assess your marketplace equity. If is your initial response to this term, you are not alone. But being familiar with the term itself is far less important than understanding the concepts behind it. Let's have a quick marketing lesson: What exactly is

Think for a moment about your affluent clients and their centers-of-influence. As you scroll through these images in the theater of your mind, try to assess your “marketplace equity.” If “Huh?” is your initial response to this term, you are not alone.

But being familiar with the term itself is far less important than understanding the concepts behind it. Let's have a quick marketing lesson: What exactly is marketplace equity? It's the following:

  • The build-up in your affluent prospect's mind of a favorable disposition to conduct business with you.

  • The cumulative effect of every past action your business has taken: marketing, service, performance, community service, etc.

  • An indicator of future success, as opposed to production, which is a backward-looking measurement of past results.

  • The most critical factor for your firm's success in affluent circles the only sustainable asset (other than bricks and mortar) that any business has.

Marketplace equity is the position you hold in the mind of your affluent clients and their centers-of-influence. Within affluent circles, whenever financial advice or investments are discussed, you want the individuals involved to make strong positive associations between these topics, your name and your firm.

Affluent Client Marketplace Equity Profile

The single best way to improve your marketplace equity is to discuss your services with your affluent clients. What is and isn't working? Your clients have seen you up close, and undoubtedly have great ideas about what you could be doing to better serve their needs, and strengthen the relationship.

If you talk to your clients about what they want, you will probably discover that, among other things, they are seeking more contact. Our research is quite clear on this issue: These clients want proactive communication when anything might impact their family's financial affairs. They want you to really understand their current needs, wants and personal affairs — and act accordingly. And when a financial advisor is fully engaged in this process, good marketplace equity follows naturally.

But too many financial advisors neglect this aspect of marketing. Why? My sense is that they don't really understand marketing — or the affluent — as well as they should. If you are marketing to the affluent without this knowledge, consider yourself at a serious disadvantage.

The following exercise will help you discover how much you actually know about your affluent clients, and serve as a platform for strengthening your marketplace equity. Get a blank piece of paper, and work through the exercise.

List five of your top affluent clients and then answer these questions:

  1. What are the three critical needs these clients have in common?

  2. How do you consistently meet these needs?

  3. What value do you provide these clients that your competitors do not (or cannot) provide?

  4. Why does each of these clients choose to conduct business with you?

  5. What perception do these clients have of you as a resource relative to their family's current and future financial needs?

  6. How many new affluent client relationships have each of these affluent clients?

  7. How do these clients perceive your competition? What would make them switch?

After working through your top five clients, use this exercise as a guide for managing your relationships with all affluent clients. Marketplace equity is something you must earn, and this process takes time. Go for it!

Writer's BIO: Matt Oechsli is author of Building a Successful 21st Century Financial Practice: Attracting, Servicing & Retaining Affluent Clients. oechsli.com

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