3 strategies to help win new millionaire clients

November 24, 2015 Categories: The Art of Advising
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This will date me . . . I can remember when gas cost $.25 cents a gallon and a million dollars was almost an unimaginable amount of money. Today,  a million dollars purchases far less, and yet it’s still a number that holds a place in the popular imagination. It’s also a useful sorting hat for thinking about clients we want to serve and how we might think about serving them.

Over the past several years, we’ve had the opportunity to work with thousands of successful advisors and have analyzed hundreds of advisor books covering approximately 300,000 households. We thought we knew something about serving affluent clients, but to be sure, we checked in with George Walper, president of Spectrem Group, an elite research firm many leaders in our industry go to for insights on affluent investors.

What did we learn? More than we can fit in a blog post, so let’s start with 3 big insights you can use right now.1

1. Work with me the same way I want to work with you

80% of millionaire investors use an advisor. Three quarters say they are satisfied. But, and this is interesting, only 14% say they are completely advisor dependent—meaning they rely on their advisor to make most or all of their investment decisions. Everyone else describes themselves as “advisor-assisted” (19%), “self-directed” (33%), or “event-driven” (34% reporting they seek out an advisor when something happens). To see more of the client’s total wealth and gain the opportunity to add more value you have to start by first serving the client the way he/she/they want to work.

2. Understand that talking about wealth means we need to talk about health

Most millionaire investors want to understand their complete financial standing, and healthcare is a key concern for them. This issue comes even further to the forefront as these investors age.

3. Millionaires think you’re a fiduciary. Are you?

Three quarters of millionaire investors think they know what a fiduciary relationship is, and more than that (as much as 87% depending on the age of the person) believe their advisor is a fiduciary. But in many cases this is likely not the case. This mismatch in expectations could mean opportunity or peril to the advisor.

Every advisor will come to his or her own conclusion about what to make of these insights. However, we encourage you to allow these insights to challenge at least 3 things you do:

Rediscover your clients: Take the time to listen to your clients with new ears and see them with new eyes. Don’t assume you really know them and what they want, need and expect simply because you have known them for a long period of time.

Rethink your service model (and possibly your organization structure): Build your work flow and manage your calendar to ensure you are resourced to provide the kind of valued service your clients want and need, and to deliver the kind of value that could cause your clients to trust you with more of their wealth.

Rethink your brand: “Brand” is nothing more than the promise you make and expectation you create for consistent value. It comes to life in lots of ways: the words you use to describe what you do; the visuals and images you use on your promotional and service materials; what your office looks like; how you manage your client meetings. These are all ways in which you signal to your clients what you are all about and what they can expect. Examine all of it and make sure you are signaling to your millionaire clients and prospects in every possible way that they are working with someone who really gets it.

The bottom line

Millionaire clients are sought after by many advisors. Distinguish yourself by focusing on helping them solve the unique challenges they face in the manner in which they want to work with you. Also, rediscovering your clients may reveal that you already have more millionaire clients than you realized. Make sure your brand and service model are up to par.

1 Millionaire Handbook by Spectrem Group, September 2015.

Russell Investments is a trade name and registered trademark of Frank Russell Company, a Washington USA corporation, which operates through subsidiaries worldwide and is part of London Stock Exchange Group.

Copyright © Russell Investments 2015. All rights reserved.

Russell Financial Services, Inc., member FINRA, part of Russell Investments.

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