How to Get High-Net-Worth Clients
"Smile and dial" went away when the Do-Not-Call list arrived, and most of your time is spent servicing current clients. So how are you going to get your share of the high-net-worth market? Try some of these approaches to put you in front of the right people.
How to Get High-Net-Worth Clients By Bryce Sanders
Start by mingling with the great and the good and joining a professional organization.
All advisors want new clients. They want wealthy ones, ideally with wealthy friends. These people are out there. If your city has 500,000 households, the top two to five percent represents 10,000–25,000 opportunities.
But "smile and dial" went away when the Do-Not-Call list arrived, and most of your time is spent servicing current clients. So how are you going to get your share of the high-net-worth (HNW) market?
Let’s consider a few approaches, each with the potential to put you in front of the right people. But that is just half of the job — the next half is getting to know them socially, identifying a need and positioning yourself as part of the solution to their problems. It takes time, but you need to make the time if you want to be successful.
Here are the approaches:
1. Mingle with the great and the good.
You want people with assets. Philanthropists have money to give away.
Rationale: The arts in your community are supported by wealthy individuals and corporate sponsors. Museums and cultural organizations issue annual reports, often available online. These name major donors, organized by giving level. Donors like to watch how their money is spent. They attend events.
Action Step: Pick four groups, each of which holds monthly events that attract 200-plus people. Attend four of these events a month — one per group — where you meet six new people and say hello to old friends.
Result: You’ve met almost 300 people in a year (6×4×12). Let’s assume a third of these people don’t meet your ideal client profile, and another third can’t stand you. This leaves 100 people with assets who like you.
2. Befriend your religious leader.
You belong to a faith community of several hundred members, some of whom have problems of a financial nature.
Rationale: Your congregation is likely a cross section of the community, with people of all incomes and ages. Parishioners periodically ask for advice, sometimes financial. Your religious leader needs a safe set of hands for referral purposes.
Action Step: Set up a meeting with your religious leader and explain how you help people. Offer to deliver a seminar on identity theft or on understanding Social Security at their community center as an educational activity for the congregation. Place a business- card ad in the organization’s weekly bulletin.
Result: Older parishioners lose their spouses, and they might need advice about inherited assets. Many people feel comfortable working with a local person who shares the same beliefs and values as they do.
3. Join a professional organization.
Physicians, manufacturers, government contractors and people in other fields have their own professional groups where they socialize and learn from each other. They often meet your ideal client profile.
Rationale: Common sense says that these groups restrict membership to people employed in their field, but many groups offer associate memberships to people and firms that provide services utilized by their members. Insurance, accounting and banking are three examples.
Action Step: Research local groups for professions you think are appropriate, learn about their associate-membership requirements, join the groups and become an active participant who is willing to volunteer at events.
Result: You get to know people in the fields that often have efficient gatekeepers at their offices. They get to know you as a person, and you identify interests in common.
4. Research local layoff news.
Although the job market has improved, companies are still downsizing. This is public information. Find out who might need your help and ask your friends if they know anyone in a similar situation.
Rationale: Worker Adjustment Retraining Notices (WARNs) are issued before layoffs at major firms to provide advance warning to employees. They are usually easy to find with the help of Google or another search engine.
Action Step: Find those firms in your local area, and find out if you have friends who used to work at those firms or if their friends used to work at those organizations. There are lots of things they need to know about moving their retirement assets. Let them know you have helped others and you may be able to help them too.
Result: You have an advocate on the inside. They can mention your name to people who are affected by the layoff and may be in need of your advice and services.
Bryce Sanders is president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc. He provides HNW client acquisition training for the financial-services industry. His book "Captivating the Wealthy Investor" is available on Amazon.
This article appeared in Advisor Today.