If your pipeline is full of affluent prospects, you can skip this month's column. If, however, you could use more affluent prospects and new affluent clients on a more consistent basis, you are going to want to read this carefully and take notes.

Our research clearly states that affluent Americans are searching for a trusted “go-to” financial coordinator, but they do not know where to look or whom to trust. Their skepticism towards the marketing efforts of the financial services industry is at an all-time high.

For those of you looking to expand a high-net-worth business, this is good news. The lack of satisfaction means there is demand for a sort of advising that is not currently in large supply. The opportunities, however, exist only for those who have developed successful prospecting habits.

Obstacle Course

Before I share these timeless prospecting success habits with you, let me first outline the most common reasons financial advisors don't have enough affluent prospects in their pipelines:

Opportunity Blindness

This is a failure to recognize the affluent prospecting opportunities presented by: client-based marketing, word-of-mouth influence, strategic alliances, centers-of-influence, affinity groups and family and friends.

Lack of Planning

This is a failure to plan for creative points of contact with affluent prospects, which requires face-to-face encounters.

Comfort Zone

This means getting too comfortable (or lazy) to engage in rainmaking activities. The result is an inferior pipeline of prospects. You can refer to this malady as fear of failure, fear of success, staying in a comfort zone or professional laziness. The fact is, few advisors have an overflow of affluent prospects waiting at their door.

Social Self-Consciousness

Many people are intimidated by people they perceive as having power, influence, status, wealth or high levels of education. This subconscious intimidation frequently leads to avoidance patterns that develop into a habit of doing busywork rather than engaging in affluent prospecting activities.

As you think about your prospecting habits, I want you to also ponder the words of Albert Grey, one of the financial service industry's greatest managers. He delivered an address in 1940 at the annual National Association of Life Underwriters (NALU) Convention called The Common Denominator of Success. This has become an industry classic. His one line, “Successful people consistently do what failures do not like to do,” speaks volumes.

In the body of his historic speech, Grey cites four habits that every successful financial sales professional has mastered:

Planning Habits

Identifying your affluent opportunities, creating your master dream list, determining your centers-of-influence, gathering information about each affluent prospect and doing your pre-contact homework.

Calling Habits

Initiating creative face-to-face contact with the affluent prospects you have targeted by using the high-impact activities mentioned earlier.

Selling Habits

Developing your sales skills to the extent that they are so seamless your prospect grows to like you, trust you and respect you professionally. They then become eager for you to solve some type of financial problem for them.

Work Habits

Working smart has always been an issue, but to be consistently successful in your affluent prospecting efforts you must also work hard. Engaging in high-impact face-to-face rainmaking activities is hard work — just ask anyone who is doing it.

It does not get much more basic than Grey's four success habits. You must work both hard and smart, which requires you to master the art of selling to the affluent. The more affluent prospects you talk to face-to-face, the more you increase the odds of growing your business.

It seems as though everyone is making this far too complicated. Affluent prospecting means finding those most qualified to value your professional services. However, you still must call on a given number of people to find a certain number of qualified prospects.

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