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Remodel Your Practice to Attract Affluent Clients – 7 Musts

Imagine attracting clients with more than $3 million in investable assets – on a regular basis – without prospecting or, even worse begging. They actually come looking for you.

Clients with more than $3 million in investable assets want to work with a proven expert.

How can you expand your knowledge and influence among a more highly affluent prospect base? Try these must-do tactics suggested by Paul Brunswick, a veteran sales coach at CEG Worldwide:

1. Adopt a wealth management focus. Roughly 90% of advisers help clients with investment management, but very few offer comprehensive wealth management – looking at all possible threats to a clients’ financial well-being. Brunswick sees that as a big differentiator for affluent clients. “The top concern of affluent clients is the preservation of their assets,” he says. “But fewer than 7% of advisors have a process for that. It’s so hard for advisors to stand on their investment consulting value proposition alone – even those who are excellent at it. They sound like everyone else. Everyone can run portfolios.”

2. Expand your team and capacity. Affluent clients usually don’t work with just one advisor – and if they do, they want to make sure that you will be able to handle a wide range of financial issues for them. “At $3 million in assets, clients have an average of 3.2 financial advisors,” Brunswick says. “At 10 million, they have more than five advisors. They diversify by advisor.” Make sure your team can adequately handle diverse needs, so you can be perceived as a financial quarterback.

3. Develop strategic alliances. Adopting a wealth management focus and having a solid team around you will help you in your pursuit of strategic alliances with other professionals, including CPAs and estate attorneys. Among Brunswick’s coaching clients, strategic alliance referrals account for 54% of their business development. “But you can’t just go knocking on CPA doors,” he adds. “You need to show them that you offer a differentiated experience.”

4. Hone a niche market. Niche marketing has been around forever, but it’s still one of the most effective – and fastest – ways to move up market into the more affluent clientele, Brunswick says. Whether you’re pursuing surgeons or orthodontists, “Top financial advisors position themselves so ideal clients are attracted to them. They have instant credibility with anyone in that niche.”

5. Interview centers of influence. To achieve dominance in your niche, Brunswick recommends conducting research interviews with 10-20 people who have knowledge in your chosen niche, asking the about their challenges. At the end, always ask “What didn’t I ask you that I should have? As well as: “Who else should I talk to?” Not only do interviews help you build relationships with key people in your niche (in a non-threatening way), they give you more expertise. “COI interviews acts as accelerator,” Brunswick says. “Set it up as a research project, not a veiled sales pitch. You’ll get more names to interview.”

6. Leverage COI research in your marketing. At a minimum Brunswick recommends publishing a summary of your findings, sharing it with the people you interviewed or uploading it to your website – or even writing an ebook. You should also consider hosting a quarterly webinar where you tackle some of the challenges identified in the research. “What happens is you go from a financial advisor trying to learn from COIs, to becoming a COI yourself. Once they’ve been that space for a while, you’ll have people calling you asking what you think. It’s a two-year journey in the minds of your audience.”

7. Offer a second opinion service. As you become known in your niche, let people know that you’re always happy to take a look at their financial situation to see if you can add value. That will make asking for referrals that much more systematic and effective. Clients whom you’ve just helped will respond favorably when you say, “I’d be happy to offer a complimentary review to anyone you think would benefit from the kind of work we’ve just done.” Instead of asking for a referral, you’re giving a gift of value, Brunswick adds

When you position yourself as an expert in a niche, affluent clients recognize a higher value proposition. One advisor in Dallas who developed a niche with dentists receives more than five inquiries a week from potential clients – and even presented at a dental conference – using the nine-minute clip on his website.

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