A small percentage of Advisors are in the enviable position of serving mainly High Net Worth clients. They are living the life most Advisors only dream of: A full practice of smart, fun, appreciative, wealthy clients who refer an endless stream of additional business in your direction.
Some of these Advisors were born into wealthy families and so have a built-in HNW network. Others may have worked their way in or had the good fortune to attend elite schools that gave them the ‘inner circle’ access. And then there’s everyone else!
So if you weren’t one of these fortunate few, is it possible to build a wealthy practice? Of course! If you’re prepared to roll up your sleeves and do the inner and outer work required, you can have this dream, too. Here are ten essential tips to get you started!
1. Get a clear vision! Set your inner GPS with specifics about what your new practice/life will look like and feel like. What does your office look like? Who’s on your team? What kind of financial planning are you doing? What are you wearing? Is there lots of laughter and relaxed conversation with your well-heeled clientele? Extensive research has been done into the role of visualization in creating our life. Take some time to picture your ideal practice. Write it out and post it where you’ll see it every day.
2. Identify your Ideal Clients. Now that you’ve got the overall picture, drill down and get clear about who you want to serve. Successful business owners? Young families? Divorced women? What is their net net worth? What profession are they in? Once you’ve done this, you’ll be able to create a plan to get in front of them!
3. Identify their main financial concerns. Each Ideal Client group will have two or three ‘hot buttons’. Choose to become an expert in these areas. When identifying needs, remember this is your ideal practice. Consider a combination of services you feel passionate about and that pay well, and that bring your clients tremendous value. If there are financial services that pay well but that you have no interest in, plan to add a Specialist to your team to handle those services.
4. Shift your mindset! Notice any tendency to see HNW people as ‘other’ or ‘different’ or ‘separate’ from you. Drill down to core needs that every human being has (love, happiness, success, community, security, freedom, good health, a sense of belonging and a life with meaning), and commit to connecting with them on that level.
5. Take a look in the mirror. Okay, you know what you want to create and who you want to serve. You’ve shifted your mindset. Now, time to look at yourself through the eyes of HNW clients. How do you present yourself? Does your appearance communicate quality, confidence and professionalism? Like recognizes like. Signal to HNW prospects that you can play in their arena by adding quality, classic pieces to your wardrobe. Top quality shoes, French cuffs for men, bold, confident colours for women.
6. See your practice through HNW eyes. Where do you hold meetings? Does your office look like a strip mall? Until you can afford a better space, set up coffee meetings in upscale restaurants. Make a plan and a budget to slowly upgrade your office space.
7. Find Where the Fish Are. Who are the 10 wealthiest people you know? Who is already in your book that fits this profile? Make some notes about their habits, hobbies and communities.
8. Develop a wealthy hobby. If you want to build a thriving, wealthy practice that feels like you, it’s important to get comfortable socializing with HNW people. Find a hobby that you’re genuinely interested in but perhaps felt like an indulgence before. To maximize the potential for leads for your business, choose a hobby that has a built-in social community and commit long-term to becoming a part of that community. Some ideas: Golf, tennis, skiing, sailing, fine art, symphony or opera, wine-tasting, whiskey-nosing, the slow food movement, charities.
9. Let go and embrace Wealth. There is only so much time in the week. Most prospecting activities take significant time and at least some financial investment. Look at your regular prospecting habits: are they getting you in front of HNW people? If the answer is no, you will need to shift where you are prospecting. Commit to letting go of old networks and developing new ones.
10. Develop your Expert Presence. What are you great at? If you’re highly skilled and passionate about investing or critical illness insurance or succession planning, become known for it! Find opportunities to contribute in ways that also raise your profile. Do Lunch ‘n Learns, presentations, write articles or blog posts. Get interviewed on radio programs, community television and Twitter chats. Stick with one or two clear messages that you become known for. People want to do business with leaders in their field. Having a public presence as an expert will act like a magnet for quality clients who are looking for the services you most love to provide.
If you have the determination to follow through with these steps, a thriving practice of HNW clients can be yours. We all have ‘financial blueprints’ of the level of wealth we are accustomed to, so be patient as you implement the changes. Look for each new step to feel ‘comfortable and normal’. Once you’ve achieved that state, take another step. Then another.
In six months to a year, you’ll be able to look back and celebrate how far you’ve come!