8 Tips For Attracting UHNW Clients
One of the best ways to grow your financial advisor business by leaps and bounds is to get high net worth (HNW) and ultra-high net worth (UHNW) clients — a lot of them.
That’s easier said than done, but it is possible with targeted, effective marketing strategies that speak to the needs of your millionaire prospects.
In this article, you’ll learn about who your rich prospective clients are, plus eight powerful tips to attract them.
Before we get there, here’s the first thing you need to know from what I learned through Spectrem Group studies: only about 6% of the U.S. population has millionaire status. Yet, on a 100-point scale, millionaires rated the importance of having a regular savings program at 82, which means they firmly believe it’s necessary to save money.
Despite the number of zeros in their bank accounts, millionaire prospects are simply regular people who want to make smarter decisions with their finances. They just have more to work with.
If you think UHNW clients want to be extravagant, think again: To attract high net worth prospects, understand they want to build a legacy, donate to charity and leave a nest egg for their kids.
In this article, you’ll learn:
👥 Who Are UHNW Investors?
HNW and UHNW are classifications used by the financial services industry to denote an individual or family with a high net worth.
There's no precise definition of how rich someone must be to fit in this category, but the most commonly quoted figure for membership in the high net worth category is at least $1 million in liquid, investable assets.
UHNW is worth much more. According to CNBC, there are 145,000 U.S. households worth $25 million or more and more than 10 million millionaire households.
To put that in perspective, one out of every 30 households is worth $1 million or more. Only about one out of every 2,200 households have reached $25 million or more.
I prefer to use statistics, so let’s look at percentiles. Here are household assets ranked by percentile, based on data from PriceMetrix Insights:
Knowing this, how can you attract these UHNW investors? The first place to start is to understand their characteristics.
Traits of UHNW Investors
To find information on UHNW investors, I went over to the Spectrem Group. Spectrem did a lot of high-quality research on UHNW investors, and here's what they found:
Here are some more facts, mostly from The Wealth-X and UBS World Ultra Wealth Report, which compiles and analyzes information about UHNW investors:
Organized sports are the most popular hobbies among UHNW investors — golf, skiing and football — plus hunting, philanthropy, fishing, education and aviation. The top hobby among women is philanthropy.
Among both men and women, the most popular philanthropic cause is education, followed by health.
Another finding is they spend $1.1 million per year on luxury goods. Their top purchases are:
So, how do you connect with them? Here are eight surefire ways...
🎯 1. Use Marketing Collateral To Share Information
One of the best ways to stand out to HNW and UHNW investors is to be a competent financial advisor who provides heaps of information. If they have a problem, they only want the best to help them solve it and move on.
Granted, they may take some time to reach a decision, but once they do, they're locked in.
That’s why marketing collateral is pivotal: blog posts, emails, content and more give valuable information and demonstrate your care for and expertise in your market.
One thing I’ve noticed about high net worth prospects after interviewing them for years is they prefer to study from afar. They don't make impulsive decisions, especially not with a financial advisor, so expect your millionaire client to put in the legwork and spend time doing research to ensure they find the best professional.
(Heads up: If you don't have your website and email marketing set up, you’re falling behind!)
Plus, when it comes to their money, you better believe wealthy prospects want to know as much as possible before they make a confident decision.
And that’s OK — in fact, it’s an advantage. If you know this in advance, you can take a bit longer to craft a marketing plan that’s meatier and provides a hell of a lot more information.
2. Examine Your Beliefs (And Push Past Your Fears!)
There’s a type of call reluctance known as Social Self-Conscious call reluctance, where advisors feel intimidated by UHNW clients you perceive as better than you. And it happens through any facet of prospecting, like LinkedIn or email; not only phone calls.
This reluctance is typically related to how much money a prospect has — if they have $10 million, financial advisors may feel some discomfort. Or worse, you won’t even try to reach out to the millionaire prospects because of your intimidation.
Social Self-Conscious call reluctance is often a deal-breaker and a career-killer for financial advisors. To create a successful prospecting plan that gets you in front of UHNW prospects, your only option is to beat this intimidation by dealing with any shred of call reluctance head-on.
One of the best ways to do that? Try to understand more about them.
The more you know about your millionaire prospects, the more confidence you build and the more effectively you can move as the fear dissipates. Plus, in the process, you might realize how much in common you have with them.
Think about it: High net worth clients are top earners who have more options to increase their income, and they can pull many levers to expand earning potential and control their businesses.
Just like you, they can raise their fees when they want, decide to cut expenses, reconfigure strategies to get more clients… see where this is going? You run your business the same way a lot of your millionaire prospects run theirs.
You have more in common and share more beliefs with them than most people do. Because of that, they’d much rather talk to someone like you who can relate to their business woes.
There’s a myth out there that millionaire prospects are immune to insecurity, but let me debunk it for you: It’s not true. When people hit the $1 million mark, the only power they gain is a tax break. Sure, there are a few other perks, but superhuman confidence isn’t one of them.
Just like everyone else, wealthy clients still struggle with some kind of underlying anxiety money can’t relieve. They may worry about losing all their money or fear their friends and family turning on them, which means your role as a financial advisor is to sell peace of mind.
That’s your job with all your clients, but especially for UHNWs; they crave peace of mind more than anyone else.
Once you're beyond any insecurity or reluctance in your own life about reaching millionaires, you’ll see they're not that hard to find, then talk to.
3. Understand Their Specific Needs
No financial advisor can (or should) try to serve everyone. Each niche requires a different suite of services and levels of expertise. If you don't have one, read my articles on why you need a niche and which are the best niches for financial advisors.
Within the HNW investor niche, their needs include estate and tax planning, wealth management advice and family governance advice. There’s also philanthropic planning, which should certainly be one of your areas of expertise — remember how most UHNW investors give to charity? That's some food for thought.
Bear in mind these clients have more complex financial situations. Many UHNW clients employ a broad wealth management focus, with taxes being one of the biggest hot buttons.
4. Focus On Your Referral Process
It’s difficult to find UHNW investors on your own, but once you've found a few, you have a solid gateway to quality introductions.
Here’s why: HNW individuals tend to stick together. They live in each other’s communities, vacation in similar venues and attend the same social events.
Every happy UHNW client you have is a goldmine of future business. A referral from these individuals is worth more because their peers look to them for wealth advice. If someone with a net worth of $25 million tells a friend with a net worth $3 million to use your services, for instance, the person with a lower net worth is likely to listen.
With this level of clientele, make referrals a big deal. Always thank your referring clients, plus be willing to spend more time and money to show you appreciate them.
The UHNW market is not an easy one to break into, which is why you should treat the referral process with the respect it deserves. If you want to get more referrals, check out 5 Reasons Why You're Not Getting Referrals.
5. Go Where The Millionaires Are
Did you know only 62% of millionaires rely on a financial advisor to help them manage their wealth? That’s an enormous window of opportunity.
In today’s technologically advanced world, it’s never been easier for advisors to find the remaining 38% of millionaire prospects who need your services.
Cold calls, direct mail and online marketing are all proven ways to build a phenomenal book of business. But to attract UHNW investors, these marketing methods don't serve you well by themselves.
If you don’t use every avenue available to you to target wealthy prospects, good luck finding them. After all, you don’t farm high net worth investors; you hunt them — that's why you have to go where they are.
Fortunately, you have some clues to help you figure out where they might be. You now know the most common cause supported among UHNW investors is education, which means you'd be smart to show your face at university fundraisers and education-focused charities.
If you’re a college graduate, an incredible way to build your business is to get involved in your alumni network. As you go to events and meet people, you’ll begin to spot the key players.
Now, when you are doing online marketing, you want to filter by age. Check out this statistic from a Fidelity Millionaire Outlook survey: 80% of current millionaires didn’t reach the magical $1 million mark until they were at least 50 years old.
If you target people under 50 to find millionaire clients, the odds won’t be in favor. Instead, use Google, Facebook and LinkedIn to filter your target demographic by age along with factors like occupation, experience, geography, education and more.
6. Prioritize Quality
The most important thing to understand about marketing to wealthy prospects is they only want quality — and they’ll pay whatever it costs. As long as you can stack the value in front of them, they’ll seriously consider you.
For example, I have a top-tier computer keyboard that’s made by a company called Das Keyboard, and it’s one of the best you can buy. (Seriously, once you buy a nice mechanical keyboard, you’ll never go back.)
I bought it for $200, and I happily paid that price because I understood the value I got in return. Even though you can type “computer keyboard” into Amazon right now and find one for less than $20, that’s a short-sighted solution.
I’d rather buy one quality keyboard I can buy once and never have to think about again rather than “save money” on a piece of crap I have to replace again and again.
The same is true for UHNW investors. They may not drive flashy cars or wear designer clothes, but because they look for value, they won’t be immediately turned off by your sticker price.
Look at it this way: If they spend more than $1 million on luxury items each year, you better believe they demand the best of the best.
This means you should develop a brand that’s well-designed and highly positioned. Think about high-quality brands and how you can instantly tell the difference, both consciously and unconsciously. Just like you, your prospects take notice, so invest in quality marketing materials to attract them.
And speaking of quality, I can’t overstate how your HNW and UHNW clients will pay for the greatest value.
The PriceMetrix study also found that advisors who priced their services between 75 and 100 basis points of invested assets had the same amount of production directly from HNW households as those who priced between 50 and 75 basis points.
There's no difference there, so you might as well be on the higher end.
However, when the price went below 50 basis points or more than 100 basis points, the number of HNW clients dropped off. This shows HNW investors aren’t sensitive to price, but they’re definitely value-sensitive.
Your sweet spot? Right in the value range.
7. Spread Optimism Throughout Your Marketing
A 2014 NBC News poll found that only 25% of middle-class Americans felt optimistic about the economy and their own financial futures — can you imagine what that number is now, nearly seven years later?
One more tip financial advisors can use to attract UHNW prospects is to embed optimism into your marketing.
Analyze all your marketing materials. How do you sound? Are you pessimistic? Can you put more of a positive spin on things?
No, that’s not a euphemism for lying or making any predictions; you shouldn’t do that. Simply be optimistic about the information you share, including the personal touches of the events of your life, even the stuff you consider mundane.
Believe it or not, some of the best performing emails from financial advisors cover random topics, like your family, your health or the experience you had when you bought a new car. Try it for yourself: The next time you take your car to the mechanic, talk about it in an email, and let your client know you thought of them.
These customized, personal marketing emails work like gangbusters to schedule appointments, because they’re genuine.
That’s why when you outsource marketing and let another company write your newsletter, for example, you let someone else dictate the success of your marketing.
ALSO READ: 51 Referral Marketing Tips for Financial Advisors
8. Play The Long Game - Work Hard Now, Reap The Rewards Later
You won’t attract UHNW investors overnight; the previous seven tips all take time, but the effort and money you invest will be more than repaid once you get one or two clients.
In 1970, Harvard sociologist Dr. Edward Banfield wrote a book called “The Unheavenly City,” and it described one of the most profound studies on success ever conducted.
Dr. Banfield wanted to find out how and why some people became financially independent over the course of their working lifetimes. He found that family background, education, intelligence, connections and more didn't matter nearly as much as one thing: “long-time perspective.”
That's what Dr. Banfield called the attitude he considered to be the largest determinant of success. The people who became the most successful in life were those who took the future into consideration while they planned and made decisions.
You can apply this same idea to your career as a financial advisor. If you're willing to invest in yourself now and put in the work, you can reap plenty of rewards later.
That's how you attract UHNW clients.
There's no magic bullet, that's for sure, but you can always maximize your chances of success when you play the long game.
Recommended Books for Marketing to UHNW Investors
If you want to further your learning on UHNW clients, I suggest reading the following books. Most of them aren’t targeted specifically for financial advisors, but they’re chock-full of valuable advice that you can transpose to your practice.
Selling Luxury: Connect With Affluent Customers, Create Unique Experiences Through Impeccable Service, and Close the Sale
This book will provide you with the fundamentals of luxury sales by teaching you how to adapt to your customers in a deeper way.
Even if you’re already advanced on the subject, reading this will give you a nice refresher on the basics, so it’s a good volume to keep in your library. One of the things I enjoy the most about this book is the lack of unnecessary jargon - it’s crisp and clear and leads you straight to the point.
Exceptional Service, Exceptional Profit: The Secrets of Building a Five-Star Customer Service Organization
Praised by Seth Godin himself, this book will take you from simple financial advisor to a 5-star service your clients can’t get enough of. Many call it the ‘Bible of Customer Service’.
It’s concise and to-the-point, making every page valuable. You’ll find yourself reading every single page and learning something from it.
It’s also made quite entertaining through case studies and anecdotes that provide concrete examples of how to apply what you’ll learn.
Marketing to the Affluent
If you want to understand the real needs and desires of the wealthy and how they differ from the less-affluent clients you may already be dealing with, this book is for you.
What is great about this book is that it’s targeted for the financial service industry and provides a peek into the trends, buying habits, preferences, and unique characteristics of the affluent population of America.
101 Insider Secrets for Marketing to Affluent Women
As you guessed from the title, this one is specifically aimed at selling to wealthy women. Many financial advisors make the mistake of applying the same sales techniques they use on men to women as well.
This book will teach you how to not only market your services to affluent women, but to retain their services as well. By learning effective communication techniques with insider tips and techniques, you’ll be on your way to gaining the trust of this often forgotten half of the wealthy population.
No B.S. Marketing To the Affluent: No Holds Barred Kick Butt Take No Prisoners Guide to Getting Really Rich
If you don’t have the patience for touchy-feely self-help and success books, you’ll love this volume. To get wealth, you must target the wealthy - end of story. This book will teach you exactly what to do when you aim to sell to the affluent.
With strategies like raising your rates and adding exclusiveness to your services, you’ll learn how to make substantial gains as a financial advisor. You’ll also get detailed information on different wealthy ‘customer personas’ and learn how to target their hidden fears and insecurities to close more deals.
Selling to the Affluent
As a follow-up to his best-selling book The Millionaire Next Door, Dr. Thomas Stanley teaches you how to persuade any wealthy client to purchase from you. It provides a complete roadmap of the sales process needed to sell to several demographics within the affluent community.
This author’s style is easy to read and provides many creative techniques to get those UHNW clients for yourself. Definitely do yourself a favor and read his other books as well!