The super-rich represent the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow for many professionals. Single-family offices, for instance, control more investable assets than the entire hedge fund industry. Moreover, most of these assets are entrusted to outside money managers.

Investment professionals aren’t the only ones focused on the super-rich. A whole array of accounting, legal and lifestyle experts are also seeking the same clientele. In the lifestyle category, two specialties in high demand are concierge medical practices and high-caliber personal security firms.

The reason so much attention is being paid to the super-rich are that their population is expanding while their aggregate wealth is growing even faster. More importantly, they’re looking for a wide range of services, for which they’re willing to pay handsomely.

Being Good Not Always Good Enough
Many professionals have a strongly held belief that if they’re really good in their field, they’ll be financially successful. This would be true in an ideal world, but that’s not the type of world we’re living in. For instance, you probably know more than a few competitors who are not nearly as technically proficient as you are, yet who are more financially successful.

To achieve stellar revenue or profits, probably one of the most—if not the most—important components of your business model is your ability to source high-caliber clients such as the super-rich. You cannot provide your expertise to the super-rich and consequently profit unless you can access them.

Accessing The Super-Rich
While there are many ways to connect with the super-rich, centers of influence—usually other professionals currently working with them—are undeniably the most effective channel (Figure 1). All the super-rich tend to turn to the professionals they’re currently working with for introductions to other professionals.
Let’s consider three segments of the super-rich:

Self-made: The self-made super-rich will, first and foremost, look to their existing cadre of professionals for referrals to other professionals. They’re very open to meeting new professionals if the ones they trust think it’s a good idea.

To a dramatically lesser degree, the self-made super-rich will solicit referrals from their peers. For the preponderance of legal and financial services, they’re disinclined to turn to others in their cohort. One of the reasons for not consulting peers is that it can demonstrate weakness, and it can result in too much “sharing.”

Inheritors: Most of the super-rich who inherited their wealth are young, usually less than 35 or 40 years old. They, too, will tap into the family’s network of experts for professional referrals. Periodically, they will source new experts by employing the professionals working with their parents, as they’ve yet to develop their own relationships.

Unlike the self-made super-rich, inheritors are somewhat inclined to seek referrals to experts from their peers. They seek out other super-rich inheritors who have encountered similar situations where professional expertise was needed. Moreover, there are many venues where super-rich inheritors congregate with one another. These opportunities enable them to get comfortable with each other, to share ideas and to solicit information, including which talented professionals to employ.

Single-family offices: The primary way senior executives at single-family offices find new professionals is by soliciting advice from the professionals they already use and, to a lesser degree, professionals they’ve used in the past.

Bear in mind that these senior executives tend to be experienced financial or legal professionals. Thus, it’s common for them to have access to professionals they know, trust and consider highly competent.

More than ever, the senior executives at single-family offices share information among themselves. They’re looking for best practices to make their offices as productive as possible. Executives mingle and share information at a growing number of single-family office events, for example, or through informal peer-to-peer networks.

While there are a number of ways to access the super-rich, being connected to them through centers of influence is far and away the optimal business development strategy. That’s because prospects in this group regularly turn to the experts they work with when they need additional expertise. By effectively connecting, understanding and incentivizing centers of influence that work with the super-rich, you’re setting the stage for them to hire you when your services are needed.