“The rich are different from you and me”, says Nick Carraway in Scott Fitzgerald’s Great Gatsby.
“Word of mouth works with the wealthy. They tend to take recommendations from friends and colleagues very seriously.” — Ron Kurtz, The American Affluence Research Center
In addition to friends and colleagues, the affluent tend to have a network of influencers (e.g., CPAs, bankers, lawyers, financial planners and insurance agents) whom they trust. If they’re a professional athlete, they may also have an agent, personal trainer, sports psychologist, chef, masseuse, pilot . . .
When marketing to the affluent you need to be low-key and unpretentious while also providing an exceptional level of service and responsiveness. In The Millionaire Next Door, Thomas J. Stanley relates to how most millionaires have worked their way up from nothing and are still very cost conscious and unpretentious. Shower them with extravagant dinners and gifts and you risk losing their trust because you’re “loose with money” and therefore charging more for your products or services than you need to.
Influencers tend to be very skeptical of sales people. As you are marketing to them, do your research about their firm and consider how you can provide them something of value. This may be research they do not have access to or articles or studies relevant to their business or clientele. Share your marketing ideas with them to help them build their business. Bring them referrals. Stay in touch and build a relationship. After you have provided them value, it is appropriate to let them know that you’re trying to build your business as well and that you would appreciate referrals to any of their clients that might benefit from the product or service you provide.
When you do get a referral from an influencer, treat their client like gold. Call their client and go to work for them immediately keeping the influencer up to date with your progress and thanking them every step of the way. The better you treat their client, the more referrals you’ll get from the influencer and the client as well. Once you have completed your work for their client, write a final thank you letter summarizing what you did for their client so they have a copy for their files. This will show them your level of professionalism and remind them that you can be trusted with their clients going forward.
What else have you found to be effective in marketing to the affluent consumer?