Even though everyone is “targeting” high-net-worth investors, many are not confident about taking the steps to meet with them face-to-face. It seems an “I'd love to do it but…” proposition, where the “but…” isn't always so clear. I sense the hesitation frequently during my coaching sessions with reps.

Recently I met with a father-daughter team that provides an excellent example. They enjoyed a healthy asset base, thanks primarily to the father's 26 years of hard work. The first thing he told me when we began discussing new business development was that his old school approach had been working just fine, even in a modern environment.

His daughter thought otherwise.

Armed with an MBA, technical savvy and good process skills, she was attempting to move the team from the traditional stockbroker model into a 21st century practice. Realizing that her father traveled in all the HNW circles and knew everyone in town, she was determined to get him more active in developing new business.

Knowledge Into Action
An HNW Questionaire Know what to do and how to do it Doing it
Finding HNW prospects. Yes▸ No▸ Yes▸ No▸
Effectively contacting HNW prospects. Yes▸ No▸ Yes▸ No▸
Building rapport in a face-to-face meeting. Yes▸ No▸ Yes▸ No▸
Uncovering areas of transition and of dissatisfaction during normal conversation with a HNW prospect. Yes▸ No▸ Yes▸ No▸
Convincing a HNW prospect of the value you bring to the table. Yes▸ No▸ Yes▸ No▸
Getting a HNW prospect to trust you with managing their considerable assets. Yes▸ No▸ Yes▸ No▸
Convincing a HNW prospect to work with you on a fee basis. Yes▸ No▸ Yes▸ No▸
Overcoming objections and reluctance of a HNW prospect to work with you. Yes▸ No▸ Yes▸ No▸
Closing the sale and clinching a long-term financial advisory relationship with a HNW prospect. Yes▸ No▸ Yes▸ No▸
Getting solicited and unsolicited referrals and introductions from HNW clients. Yes▸ No▸ Yes▸ No▸

“All we need is more activity, because once we get a prospect in our office and take them through our investment process, we close 100 percent,” explained the daughter. Her father nodded approvingly at the statement, and indeed, it sounded good. But experience told me not to be so easily convinced of their HNW prowess. Simply put, high-net-worth selling is rarely simple. Therefore, I challenged their assumptions about the business. “If you're closing at 100 percent, then I don't believe you are dealing with high-net-worth prospects,” I said.

The daughter began to protest, but her father gently interrupted. “If we're honest with ourselves, Matt's right,” he said. “We aren't targeting high enough.”

The irony, of course, was that both father and daughter socialized with the very people they coveted as clients. But they found it hard to make the jump from socializing to prospecting. They were petrified of coming across as pushy salespeople, which is precisely why they needed to assess their high-net-worth selling skills and polish them to the point that they are effective, seamless and invisible. Can you relate?

Many financial advisors are wrestling with their version of this father-daughter team. The questionaire below relates to the areas of HNW selling veteran financial advisors most frequently ask me about in my coaching sessions.

For each of the statements below, there are two sets of questions to answer. Circle “Yes” or “No” for each set.

Both the “Know what & how to do it” and the “Doing it” response categories are important, but it's the latter that matters most, for obvious reasons.

To successfully build a 21st century financial practice targeting high-net-worth clients, you need to do activities every day that will get you face-to-face with the right prospects. Whether it's a social or business-related encounter, you need to do five things:

  • Determine any financial impact points that indicate a prospect needs your help.

  • Establish your value.

  • Be alert to buying signals and use incremental mini-closes effectively.

  • Clinch a long-term relationship with the prospect when the time and conditions are right.

  • Continually monitor your pipeline and make certain your high-net-worth prospecting activity keeps that pipeline full.

To accomplish this, your goal must be to master the high-net-worth selling skills represented by the 10 questions in the questionaire. That means being able to answer “Yes” to both categories for each question, and to do it with confidence.

Writer's BIO: Matt Oechsli is author of Building a Successful 21st Century Financial Practice: Attracting, Servicing & Retaining Affluent Clients. oechsli.com