Selling to the Affluent Using Joint Venture Strategies

The problem with most sales efforts is that they are, for lack of a better word, overly blunt. Variation on “Hi this is me. This is what I do. Want to do business?”

Of course you don’t really say that. You’re much more elegant. There are a number of “filler” topics that get used to make the sales presentation a bit less obvious. But the reality is that when you distill the sales message down to its essentials, it’s still pretty much, “Hi this is me. This is what I do. Want to do business?”

So what’s the problem with that? Sales guru and copywriter John Carlton who has sold more stuff to more people than most anyone I know, says that the sales message should simply be “This is what I got. This is why you need it. This is what I want you to do.” Seems to work just fine for him.

However the challenge becomes if your target audience gets a lot of sales pitches. This is a particular challenge for financial advisors who are targeting the affluent niche. Since so many advisors use variations on the “Want to do business with me?” model, sales presentations become just so much background noise after a while.

Says Thomas Cloud, CEO of his family’s manufacturing company and an ultra-affluent investor, “It’s pretty much the same sales message over and over again. What none of them seem interested in understanding are, what are the real concerns and issues I’m facing-they may not even be directly financially related. If they would just be willing to invest some time in getting to know me, without it being so obvious that they just want my business, I’d be more inclined to probably do business with them. I know that may not make a whole lot of sense, but to me and my friends it does.”

So what’s the message here and why do so many advisors fail in this regard? I think it’s summed up in one word-patience. Like most everyone, advisors have “production” goals that must be met. As many a sales trainer has correctly pointed out, nothing is a greater cause of poor salesmanship than sales quotas. Quotas have the unintended consequence of making advisors focus on “getting the business” rather than on creating a relationship.

So suppose someone was willing to take a step back and take a longer term approach to building a relationship with someone such as Mr. Cloud. What exactly would they do?

One financial advisor’s unusual approach to this issue has enabled him to build business relationships with over 4 dozen ultra-wealthy clients in Southern California. He accomplished this by observing one common trait that these clients all shared, teenage sons and daughters.

It’s the dream of many affluent and ultra-affluent parents to send their children to the Ivy League. However, the process by which admission is granted (or denied) is a bit of a “black box” unless one has sat on an Ivy League admissions committee.

While it is virtually impossible to get the ultra-affluent to attend a traditional financial seminar, it is another matter entirely to get them excited and literally lining up to attend “The Secrets of The Ivy League Admissions Process”. By joint venturing with three retired admissions officers, this financial advisor has successfully managed to start the relationship building process around an issue that is top-of-mind for his prospects and clients.

By Suzana