When prospecting for new clients, the first step is to gain their trust so you can build a relationship and, ultimately, close the sale. How you go about generating prospective clients can be critical in how successful you are in the relationship-building phase.
Last month (“Luring the Wealthy”), we identified five personality traits and corresponding “wealth signs” that predominate among affluent investors. The findings are based on a survey by Iconoculture, a Minneapolis-based consumer research firm. By understanding what motivates these affluent folks, we described how investment advisors can develop prospecting strategies to capture qualified leads. You can review those traits and wealth signs online at www.investmentadvisor.com/issues/2004_10/features/4247-1.html. This month, we’ll explore how to convert these prospects into clients.
When using “shotgun” prospecting techniques like mass mailings or generic seminars, you will typically generate a disparate group of potential clients. Conversely, by targeting your efforts to individuals within a particular wealth sign, you’ll garner like-minded individuals with similar interests and goals. As such, you’ll be able to focus your sales efforts by appealing to the common factors that motivate them.
When working with a wealth sign group, it’s important to understand their interests and the language that the members respond to, and, more importantly, the language that they understand. By customizing the language you use and appealing to their motivating hot buttons, you will be better positioned to develop deep and lasting relationships. Our research found that there are distinct ways to tailor your language given a particular wealth sign. We call it sign language.
In each of the examples listed in the table on the right, you can see that language can play an important role when describing your approach to financial planning. Throughout the relationship-building process, and particularly when you get close to closing the sale, you’ll want to use sign language to drive home that you’re a trusted advisor who understands their needs. For each of the wealth groups below, use the following suggestions to position yourself in the best light.
Service Is Everything
Good Life clients are enthusiastic about their lifestyle and want to feel important, valued, and special. For example, convey that your practice is limited to providing wealth management to only a select few. Because these clients respond well to a “white-glove” service approach, pay attention to every detail, from the coffee you serve to the quality of the paper on which you write to them. Be very available for these clients, and when meeting face-to-face, let them talk about their successes. Be a good listener. Remember, too, that when you refer them to other professionals, make sure these centers of influence are of a high caliber.
Aesthetic qualities drive Artisan clients, so take a fairly casual servicing style and avoid being overly formal. Be aware that these clients tend to be more creative than analytical, so try to visualize your ideas. Focus on the broad design of the strategy and the underpinning thought process.
These clients may also feel insecure about the financial markets. That means they may require more handholding. Try to develop ties between their interests and their investment plan, and always convey the amount of thought you put into managing every aspect of their account and how passionate you are about what you do.
Efficiency Equals Service
Unplugged clients favor a simple, balanced, and self-disciplined life. Quality of service, and not its quantity, is important to them. They will tend to be fairly analytical and will want you to give them detail, but don’t waste time on things that they are not interested in knowing. Make sure that you are accurate and specific when discussing their portfolio, and that you do your homework prior to meeting them face to face.