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How to attract (and keep!) affluent clients

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Cleves Delp knows a little something about attracting and keeping high-net-worth clients.

As the principal at Toledo, Ohio-based TDC Companies, Delp runs an organization with roughly $4 billion in in-force death benefit and $1 billion worth of assets under management. His firm has built relationships with hundreds of other advisors around the country, helping them offer more services to their own clients while creating a massive referral pipeline of affluent customers for TDC’s various companies.

Here, Delp shares seven of his top tips for finding and retaining high-end clients. (And for more on Delp, see Game changer: How Cleves Delp is building the agency of the future.)

1) Seek out other trusted advisors.

You can attempt to gain clients one at a time, but it’s better, of course, to be referred by a center of influence who works for clients you’re interested in meeting. This way, you come in with credibility, it’s more efficient, and you can immediately collaborate with the trusted advisor.


2) Tell targeted, trusted advisors how you can help them.

If you find a center of influence you would like to do business with, refrain from calling them for referrals. Instead, introduce yourself as someone who would like to learn more about their practice and their capabilities for the benefit of your clients. This, in turn, allows you to demonstrate your capabilities for them and their clients.


3) Don’t leave risk identification up to the client. 

Especially for high-end clients, inoculate the risk related to your recommendation by clearly identifying those risks for the client. If a trusted advisor is willing to think about all of the possible risks associated with a transaction, then the client doesn’t have to.

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4) Hire the best.

Surround yourself with folks in your organization who are better and different than you. Hire people with different skill sets, embrace them, and empower them to run their given discipline.


5) You’re a trusted advisor … so act like one. 

If your clients trust you, like you and think you’re smart, then they trust you, like you and think you’re smart. That’s true whether you’re providing advice that’s financial, family, personal or otherwise.


6) Don’t refer out. Refer in.

When you refer to another professional, it’s always best if that professional is inside your organization. However, if the professional works outside your organization, be in the meeting and have the meeting in your office.

See also: 100 best sales & marketing ideas: 11 ways to get more referrals


7) Offer to help, no matter what.

If given the opportunity to help a client where you cannot benefit in any way … never miss that opportunity.

For more on high-net-worth clients, see:

Rising health costs remain top concern of affluent

DIY management of portfolios down among wealthy investors

How did the world’s rich get that way? Luck


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