The first of a four-part series.
The Super-rich are individuals and families worth $500 million or more. There are 4,680 such families throughout the world, controlling $5.4 trillion, according to Wealth-X. Some organizations place the number and worth even higher. All in all, we're talking about a relative few who control gargantuan wealth.
There are clearly fewer super-rich clients than the ballooning armies of professionals who want them as clients. Nevertheless, for many professionals, they represent the ideal client, or at the very least, the golden ring-with emphasis on the word "gold." Because of their extensive needs and wants, coupled with the fact that they habitually "support" a broad array of professionals, super-rich clients, while certainly not for everyone, are extraordinarily attractive to professionals striving to dramatically and hyper-profitably build their practices.
Through extensive ethnological studies and consultations with the super-rich, combined with an empirically derived understanding of the best practices of professionals focused on the very, very, very wealthy, the ways to effectively source the super-rich have become clear. Just like knowing what it takes to become a self-made billionaire, knowing what it takes to preferentially access the super-rich is self-evident-almost.
There aren't any secrets in sourcing the super-rich. Success is not a function of okuden (i.e., a clandestine teaching or hidden knowledge). There isn't some arcane grimoire or codex. On the contrary, success is principally a result of clever and deft implementation. There's no question that business development with the wealthiest people in the world is predicated on your ability to think well inside the box and deliver.
Connecting Versus Closing
It's important to note that in this series of columns, I'm addressing how to connect with the brobdingnagian wealthy who are seriously interested in the expertise you bring to the table. By understanding how to reach the super-rich, you can be effectively proactive. However, this doesn't mean you have a new client. This means these fabulously wealthy individuals must be willing to use your services.
By selectively employing the approaches I'll be detailing, you will find that the super-rich will be inclined to consider using your services. All this means is that you're "in the running." It's certainly conceivable-and highly likely-that there are other professionals with the same expertise as you who will also be considered.
What's still required is for you to convince the super-rich that you're the authority they need. Converting these prospects into clients entails much more than just gaining access to them. However, by getting their attention, you are being recognized as a top-flight professional, which makes their transition from prospect to client slightly less difficult and burdensome.
How To Connect With The Super-rich
There are three basic ways to source the super-rich (Figure 1):
All of these approaches are viable and if you're already working with the extremely wealthy, none of them should be surprising. The real question is, "How can you most systematically source the extremely wealthy and the super-rich in particular for your services?" Here, I'll discuss luck-or, as it is called by many professionals, "networking."
Luck comes in two fundamental variations: blind and serendipitous. The former is a matter of winning the lottery. The latter is actually characteristic of the way a great many professionals seek very wealthy clients.
Blind luck is when the sister-in-law you've always denigrated starts a company. You're a low to moderately successful investment advisor. One day a corporate behemoth comes along and makes an offer way beyond anyone's wildest expectations for your sister-in-law's little not-as-yet-profitable tech company. She becomes fabulously wealthy and there you are-because your spouse pressures his or her sister-with a few hundred million dollars to invest.
Then there is serendipity. Think of serendipity as luck wrapped with the outline of a plan. Or you can think of it as running around until you randomly bump into someone of wealth. For example, you constantly attend charity events as well as yacht and dinner parties, knowing the super-rich are sometimes present. Once in a while, you will meet and talk with the super-rich or one of their close confidants. It's an enticing strategy and it does work, eventually. Unfortunately, it works only erratically. There's no rhyme or reason to when you'll connect with a wealthy, motivated prospect. This is what we call "networking"-the marketing approach used by the majority of professionals. It lacks predictability and structure. It's a vast numbers game with very low success rates. But when it does work, it can bring great value.
There's an element of serendipity in all the approaches to connecting with the super-rich. Finding an influencer you "click" with who has a handful of super-rich clients, for example, can be somewhat serendipitous. However, I'm using the term serendipity where there aren't any other systematic approaches being employed. The way so many professionals "network" is far from anything that can be called systematic.
In Part 2, I will discuss the value of a dual-impact brand.