Let’s be honest, there’s no shortage of financial advisors out there. Your prospect or client can buy a stock, bond, insurance policy, mutual fund or annuity from anybody. It’s not about the money; it’s about the relationship. Only when you connect “relationally” to the client or prospect can you connect financially. You are the differentiating factor in that relationship, especially when it comes to the affluent.
So, how do you differentiate yourself in the marketplace? You need to show affluent prospects and clients that you understand them. If you become known as the person who understands them, you will always have a supply of new business coming in. The key is to connect with them verbally. Here are five conversations that I have used in my practice to connect with the affluent in a way that they can relate to:
The business-owner conversation: “Joe and Susan, as you’re about to retire, think of yourselves like a business. You are the CEOs of the company, and I’m the CFO helping you along the way. The product that your company produces is called income. Throughout the year, we’ll evaluate how the manufacturing (i.e., investments) is going and make changes as needed. We’re going to be running your retirement just like you ran your business. Does that make sense?”
The sudden-wealth conversation: “Joe and Susan, you’ve said you just received from a lawsuit a [financial] windfall of $10 million. We understand that you face challenges and pressures that other people don’t face. People may start coming out of the woodwork asking you for money. What we will do is help create a plan that may enable you to reach all of your financial goals, while still providing you with the privacy and flexibility you need to help support your friends, if you choose to do so. We want to help you enjoy as much normalcy in your life as possible. How does that sound to you?”
The specialist conversation: “Joe and Susan, I need to tell you that I am not the only financial professional in town. There are countless advisors to choose from. What separates me—and my firm—from the rest is that we specialize in creating retirement income for our select group of clients. That’s what we do day in and day out. We have a narrow slice of the pie, and that’s how we like it. So if you’re looking for a more general advisor, we are probably not the best choice. But if you’re looking for a retirement-income specialist, we may be the choice for you. What direction do you want to go?”
The get-rich-quick conversation: “Joe and Susan, it’s not about getting rich quickly in the market; it’s about not losing your life savings in the market. As I hold your 401(k) statements in my hand, these are more than just pieces of paper. These pages represent 30 years of your savings and hard work. I want you to know that I respect and admire what you’ve done. What our firm doesn’t do is to put your money at undue risk. Our goal is to help you generate a comfortable income from your investments—and not run out of money in retirement. Is that what you’re looking for?”
The significance question: “Joe and Susan, what do you want to do to achieve significance in the second half of your lives? The majority of our clients have enough money to retire, but they don’t want to just sit on the back porch and watch the grass grow. They want to go, see and do. What is your retirement dream? With no limits on you, what you do want to do to help change the world? What do you want your legacy to be? I want to help you make that a reality.”
Begin to have these conversations with your affluent prospects and your existing clients. You may be surprised at what happens. You’ll soon be transforming your meetings into a means of building purpose-driven relationships. And those are the types of relationships that make the affluent eager to refer your next ideal client to you.
For more tips on working with the affluent, be sure to listen to the podcast “How to Attract and Retain Affluent Clients.”
This is an excerpt of a much longer speech given at the 2007 MDRT annual meeting. Used with permission. All rights reserved.
Derrick Kinney is an Arlington, Texas-based financial advisor and the author of the Amazon.com bestseller Attract Your Ideal Clients. Contact him at 817-465-9800 or firstname.lastname@example.org.