For many financial representatives, “hooking the big fish” means being able to successfully attract and serve high net worth clients. These are worthy goals, but as famous fly fisherman and author A.K. Best has said of some of his own angling experiences, “the fishing was good; it was the catching that was bad.”
In other words, it’s one thing to aspire to build a base of high net worth clients, and another to actually succeed at doing it. After all, this is a market with lots of choices regarding where to receive service: registered investment advisors, brokerage firms, insurance companies, etc.
As a field representative, your challenge is to distinguish yourself and your service by building the highest levels of confidence in the minds of these highly discerning prospects. You can start by recognizing that high net worth clients are looking for far more than great performance, pure investment solutions or mere purveyors of products. They’re looking for a trusted advisor.
But what does it take to ensure that trust? There’s no shortage of advice on this topic and it can be difficult for the rep to crystallize an effective, organized approach. But after 20 years in this niche of financial services, I’ve learned that it’s useful to plan an approach around 3 messages to your prospect. Here’s what they want to hear from you:
? That you’re a genuine player in the high net worth arena and you have the organizational resources to back you up.
? That you have a unique understanding of investor psychology (theirs and yours).
? That yours is an investment process par excellence; equally so, your level of execution is beyond comparison.
Let’s look at each.
Develop the expertise and have the right resources
It’s important to demonstrate to your prospect your high level of commitment to, knowledge of and experience in the high net worth arena. It takes a lot of training to be an elite advisor. Tiger Woods just doesn’t have ability; he trains harder than any golfer.
Training and credentials–for you and your staff–are important and it shows that you take your role seriously. Let your prospect see that you’re regularly keeping abreast of developments within the marketplace and that you’re invested in the business. Don’t limit your conversations to investment management alone; be client centric, not market centric.
As important as what you personally bring to the table are the organization and resources available to back up your service. The strength and continuity of the brand and organization that are behind you will resonate with your prospect. Having a strong financial network can also help. In some cases, it may make more sense to have a good team of internal experts to whom you can refer high net worth individuals rather than requiring the necessary skills set yourself.
Being the relationship quarterback may make more sense for a rep’s specific business model. High net worth individuals have been through a lot in the past decade with the number of disruptive mergers and acquisitions, possibly involving their banks or brokerage firms or both. Your prospect will appreciate the benefits of a secure relationship with a stable company.
He or she will also be reassured hearing about how they’ll benefit from an institutional investment process that can be delivered at an individual level. Your message here is one of best practices: What has worked well for the institution (e.g., the disciplines of pensions, endowments, etc.) is also available to the individual. Investment returns in many cases are a commodity. Investment expectations that are established around long-term strategies usually are best positioned to meet future goals.