May 09 2022
Who do high-net-worth people want to know?
By Bryce M. Sanders, BS, MS
Television often portrays high-net-worth individuals as arrogant and intimidating, adding drama to on-screen plots. It’s not reality, though. So there’s no need for financial advisors to steer clear of high-net-worth clients. Wealthy individuals are often people just like you.
Generally speaking, the following stereotypes about wealthy people are not true:
- They only spend time with people who can do something for them.
- They only seek out people as rich or richer than them.
- They only spend time with people identical to them.
If you want to work with that clientele, it’s important to look beyond those common stereotypes and understand who they may enjoy associating with.
- Other successful people. Given the choice, they surround themselves with optimists and people who get things done.
You: Are you successful? A person who gets things done?
- Younger people. If they made their own money, the wealthy are often considerably older. They don’t insulate themselves within their own age bracket, though. If they run businesses, the younger generation represents current or future clients. They want to know how they communicate, what they’re buying and what gets their attention.
You: Are you younger? Many older, successful people have an interest in mentoring or helping younger people achieve success.
- Older people. Older people often have gained wisdom through experience. They want to learn from them, so they aren’t reinventing the wheel. The economy often moves in cycles. Older people have likely experienced the previous cycle.
You: If you’re older, this category may be a fit for you.
- People of faith. For some people, being involved in the community includes attending religious services. Not all high-net-worth individuals follow this path, but many do. Religion is a great leveler. You sit next to people from different walks of life and faces become familiar.
You: Do you attend religious services regularly? Get more involved in the congregation’s activities and see who you might meet.
- Influencers. Many high-net-worth people are involved in the community. They sit on nonprofit boards and need to raise money. As business people, they also want to meet certain people outside their circle who can make introductions.
You: Are you an influencer? Maybe or maybe not.
- The press. Wealthy people involved in the community often have causes. They want their favorite charities to get attention. They often cultivate relationships with people at the local newspaper and other media outlets.
You: It’s unlikely you own a newspaper, but if you know a reporter, you might hang out with them when they cover community events.
- Famous people. You’ve been in people’s offices and seen pictures of them shaking hands with the president or famous sports figures. The unspoken message is “I’m important enough to have gotten into this picture.”
You: OK, so you aren’t a famous person. Yet.
- Subject matter experts. You’ve heard the expression, “I know a guy…” When they have a question about wine, jewelry or real estate, they have a local expert who will take their call and answer their questions. Obviously, this extends into professional services.
You: A good fit! You are an expert in financial services.
- People with the same hobbies. The guy with an exotic car hangs out with other people who own exotic cars. The wine fans spend time together drinking wine.
You: Do you have a hobby? Are there clubs around?
- Competitors. You might think competitors are mortal enemies, but this often isn’t the case. The three car dealers in town might wish there were only two car dealers in town, but they have often defined their market segments. They want to know each other so they have an idea of what the others are doing.
You: It’s unlikely you’re viewed as a competitor for your prospects or clients. You are a financial advisor.
- Ordinary people. If they visit the post office, they know the person behind the counter. They know the local police officer. They know the people behind the deli counter. One simple reason is they feel developing a personal relationship translates into better service. They treat others as they would want to be treated if the roles were reversed.
You: If you treat service providers as equals, your graciousness will be noticed.
- Family. Wealthy people are often very focused on the well-being of their extended family. They help send them to college and send checks on birthdays and major holidays.
You: This is a shared value. They care about their family. You care about yours. It can be a conversation starter.
Now you have a good understanding of who the wealthy connect with within the community. It should also be a road map showing how you might get into their orbit and on their radar.
Bryce Sanders is president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc. His book “Captivating the Wealthy Investor” is available on Amazon.