During our time together, I want to share with you why I believe now is the perfect time to attract more affluent clients. I also want to motivate you to take action, using proven, powerful action steps that tomorrow morning you can apply to further become the advisor of choice for the affluent in your local area.
Secret 1: Prepare yourself to work with more affluent clients.
Common to all top-producing financial advisors are several key characteristics. One is that they have high-touch practices. Many advisors communicate with clients 50 to 100 times a year via weekly updates, quarterly meetings and cards marking a birthday, anniversary or other significant event. Once you have acquired an affluent client, there is no such thing as a do-not-call list.
Moving to the next level
Much like a doctor who X-rays a patient when there’s a health issue, it’s important to examine where your practice stands today. What are the profit centers of your business? How much revenue do you need to produce per client? What is your hourly rate? All of this information will help you discern which clients to bring on and keep.
It’s also important to redefine your top clients. Many of you will be familiar with Pareto’s Principle, or the “80/20 rule,” which says that 80% of results come from the top 20% of your clients. But I find the numbers shift from 80/20 to 90/10 for those advisors who specialize in working with the affluent.
Think about the steps you can take to copy and paste the top 10% of your clients to the rest of your business. What minimum level of assets or insurance policy face amount is required to be a top-level client? How high a fee should you charge? In what assets must the client invest? Once you have this information, the next step is to phase out the least profitable clients.
Leveraging your staff
A recent Rydex study shows that financial professionals who spend more than 60% of their time with clients are more productive than those advisors who devote less than 60%. I challenge you to do what I call a time audit. Think about the 2 to 3 key tasks that only you can do, then delegate the rest to hourly staff. You thereby can better leverage your time and attract the people you want as clients.
Also, think about your office as “the dream center.” You should have on the walls artwork or pictures of the coast. Clients can get reality outside of the office. When they come to your office, the pictures on display should spur them to imagine what they can accomplish.
Secret 2: Seek the affluent where they are hiding.
When you focus on the cream of the crop, the crop gets easier to harvest. Research has shown that if you add value to your client relationships, you’re more likely to get referrals. As I like to say, once you add value, then you become valued.
Ask for “situational referrals.” Let’s say you present to the client a strategy that shows how he or she can retire early. At that moment, you’ve added value. You can then say to the client, “There may be other high-level executives like yourself with this same concern. For whom else would you like me to help solve this same problem?”
Contrast this approach with the advisor who asks clients, “Who do you know who can use my services?” What do they often say? “I don’t know anybody.” Well, of course they know some people, but the question is so general they can’t narrow down the request. That’s why asking for situational referrals is more effective.
Partnering with other professionals
In a recent investor survey, financial advisors came in third behind accountants and attorneys as the 2 most trusted relationships of the affluent. Thus, extending your network base to become the advisor of choice, not only for the affluent but also for the accountants and attorneys in your area, will boost your credibility. Affluent clients also appreciate that you’re working in a collaborative, team-based approach.
Using the media
A great way to attract the affluent is by building your credibility through the media. And the key to securing press exposure is to own your space. Think about the career categories of your top-tier clients. Are they mostly engineers, teachers or small-business owners? For whom do they work?
Let’s say that most of your clients are university professors who regularly receive a certain magazine or newsletter that serves their profession. You could approach the publication’s editor and offer to provide a guest column, pointing out that you specialize in the unique financial services needs of educators.