Affluent clients are a very sought after customer segment, and with good reason; these prospects can potentially catapult the profitability of your business. But for many, successfully wooing this lucrative customer segment will more often than not fall short. So how can financial professionals improve their odds for landing these more affluent prospects?
Over All Else, Gain Their Trust
A Vanguard report found that one of the most important traits that affluent investors look for in their financial advisors is trustworthiness. Among many variables, this trait even outranks high credentials and a proven track record. So how does someone appear more or less trustworthy?
According to a Princeton study, it takes just 100 milliseconds (one-tenth of a second) for someone to form an opinion of you based on your facial expression alone. It’s important to realize that even the slightest interaction with someone can reinforce or completely strip away your ability to establish a good report and starting that process of gaining their trust.
Let Them Speak First
According to Harvard social psychologist Amy Cuddy, known for her work on first impressions; by being less dominant and letting others talk first, you will appear more trustworthy and sincere. Don’t attempt to talk over these clients or have the first and last word, instead be receptive and have open ears.
Nod Your Head
It may sound silly, but some very interesting research reported in The Sydney Morning Herald found that by simply nodding your head, you can positively influence your prospects: “If you intentionally nod your head, you’ll experience positive feelings. Nod your head as you ask your “yes” questions or as you listen to their responses, and watch how others also begin to nod their head and start to feel positive about your proposals”.
Mirror Their Gestures
An MIT professor, specializing in the study of non-verbal cues found that by mirroring the gestures of another person during an interview, you can actively increase the likelihood of a successful outcome. Although there has been some mixed reviews on mirroring body language as well, studies seem to suggest that by actively observing how receptive others are of your own body language, you can determine how interested or uninterested they are, thus allowing you to pivot the discussion.
Watch Your Tone
A study conducted by researchers at the University of Glasgow in Scotland found tone had a crucial impact on traits such as trustworthiness. The study found that raising vocals while talking, signals trust over monotone or deeper vocalizations; while those deeper vocalizations can trigger more authoritative reactions.
Make Eye Contact
A 2007 published study in the journal of Personality and Social Psychology found a correlation in intelligence perception and eye contact. In addition, researchers at Cornell University found that eye contact produces a “powerful, subconscious sense of connection”. But be careful, too much eye contact can also be taken as dominate or threatening behavior. Forbes suggests the 30 to 60 percent rule; that is to say that you should be at minimum making 30% of the time eye contact, and at maximum up to 60% eye contact during any given time period. There’s also another rule of thumb to consider which is the 7-10 second eye contact rule. According to this rule, in one on one meetings, make sure your eye contact lasts at least up to 7 seconds, but not longer than 10 seconds, before you pull away your gaze.
Understanding the Affluent Customers
Be Time Conscientious
With the majority of affluent males (72%) and females (52%) working well into 40-70 hours a week; not adhering to their schedule can be one your easiest ways to lose them. Be flexible; try being as efficient as you can when accommodating for these customers. Don’t go over time with your meetings unless they actively suggest to.
Their Values Aren’t As Cut Dry As You Think
Wealth Management recently reported an interesting finding; 93% of affluent customers come from middle class backgrounds and actually don’t consider themselves to be wealthy. It’s important to state this fact because often the perception of affluent clients is that they can be very snobbish. Based off of values reflected by the wealthiest classes of our society, understanding that the affluent customer’s values may not be as cut and dry as you think is an important fact to consider in prospecting this particular demographic. For example, just because they have amassed a good deal of wealth, doesn’t mean they don’t like saving more money and capitalizing on good deals.
It can be difficult to deal with affluent clients, and even more so, to entice them to join you as a future client. In time you will start to hone in on what works and what doesn’t for the specific area you specialize in as it relates to the financial industry. At Resource Solutions, we have identified certain marketing strategies that work better than others and have actually created a special marketing program designed specifically for financial advisors and licensed insurance agents. If you are a financial professional, feel free to contact us today to hear more information about how we can help!