The very rich are very sheltered. Selling to them is extraordinarily hard until you learn how to get in front of them.
So you have a product or service that caters to the rich. The clients you want are ultra-wealthy, extremely busy and pretty much untouchable. While every business faces gatekeepers of some sort, those who sell to the affluent face impenetrable fortresses of staffers, handlers and security teams, who make it their job to keep people away from their bosses.
Reach beyond your grasp.
So what do you do if the person you wish to do business with is simply inaccessible? One option is to follow protocol and go through the lines of defenses, pitching your product or service to layers upon layers of decision makers. That could take years. The other option is to create a strategy for influencing the people you wish to work with: the uber-rich, ultra-wealthy, untouchable millionaires and billionaires.
Here are four simple strategies to influencing the affluent:
Open your Rolodex.
Michael Carucci, a Boston-based luxury real estate broker who only deals in multi-million dollar homes, says his secret to influencing the affluent is that he does much more than sell real estate, he opens his rolodex to clients long after the deal is done. Michael has helped his high net worth clients get children into elite schools, get their books and products on national television programs, and obtain impossible to come by red carpet tickets. He says even the affluent need access to hard to get people and things, and he’s created a reputation for delivering that.
It’s going to take a very long time for you to get past the myriad of gatekeepers if you reach out and try to sell something. Instead, try reaching out and asking your ultra-rich potential client if you can interview her for a blog, company newsletter, or other type of periodical. I’ve interviewed more than 300 high net worth business tycoons, athletes, and celebrities. I use tools like the premium membership on LinkedIn to contact them directly. At first contact, I don’t ask for business; I don’t try to sell; I simply ask for an appointment to interview them for an article. The interview is my access, and from there I build long term relationships which often result in business.
Influence their influence.
Shanna Dickerson of Blue Sky Luxury Concierge offers concierge services and event planning and promotion for elite clients around the country, including Richard Branson. How did she score the crème-de-la-crème of clients, Richard Branson? Easy, she was already doing business with someone who influences Branson, and she asked for an introduction. It’s a lot easier to get someone’s ear when you get introduced through someone they trust.
Hang where they hang.
So you may not be able to afford a house in a gated community or a private jet sharing membership, but there are other places the ultra-wealthy hang out. A good place to find them is at country clubs, sports clubs, high-end gyms, and charity events and galas. Furthermore, if you have two hours to kill, instead of booting up your computer at the local coffee shop, make yourself comfy in a corner nook near the bar at the swanky five star hotel, where your chances of running into a potential new affluent client increases by tenfold. It’s much easier to create conversations and get appointments when the people you are trying to influence consider you one of them.
Volunteer or join a board.
Some of the most valuable relationships I’ve made with high net worth friends all started with a passion for a charitable initiative. Find a charitable cause you are passionate about and dig in deeply through volunteering and/or board membership. Non-profits tend to attract people from all economic strata who are passionate about the cause. If you are targeting a particular affluent client, find out what causes he is passionate about and get involved.