There are four types of advosrs who focus on the wealthy: Two bring in new revenues and two do not.
First there are the experts, who typically have high-profile brands, but can be separated into those who are talented and those who are not—the incompetents.
The other two "types" consist of two groups with low brand equity—the professionals who constitute hidden talent and those at the very bottom rung of the ladder: the obscure, incompetent professionals.
Let's take a look at each group.
Talented Expert: You have a high level of expertise coupled with a strong brand. You’re as adept as any of your competitors.Tthe “right people’—the wealthy and centers of influence—know who you are and what you are capable of doing. The “talented” component indicates that you will do an exceptional job for affluent clients. The “expert” component means that you will have the opportunity to do so. In this matrix, this is the best place for you to be.
Hidden Talent: What happens if you have a high level of expertise but lack a meaningful brand? You’re not well recognized for your knowledge and capabilities. If this is the case, you’re a hidden talent. Given the opportunity to work for a high-net-worth client, you’ll do an exceptional job. The big complication is in sourcing that affluent client. Potential wealthy clients as well as centers of influence are unaware of, or have a limited view of, your capabilities. This results in you periodically—or worse, frequently—not being in the running to access a wealthy prospect.
Incompetents: You lack expertise and a meaningful brand. There’s little doubt that if you’re in this segment, you can scrounge out a living or slightly better, but it’s unlikely you’ll get very far. Your ability to source new business is dreadfully limited.
Incompetent Experts: If you’re in this quadrant, you have a very solid and attractive brand in the right circles. The fact that you’re not very capable is not a deterrent to your ability to generate a lot of new business and consequently have tremendous pecuniary success. Put plainly: A lack of real technical capabilities doesn’t pose an obstacle to very effective business development with the wealthy, as the right circle of people believe in your professional knowledge and abilities, even if they’re delusional.
The two types that are best able to source new affluent clients are the Talented Experts and the Incompetent Experts. When it comes to being effective at new business development, these two types pretty much occupy the same playing field.
An all too common misunderstanding needs correction: Being recognized by decision-makers as an expert and actually being an expert is not necessarily the same thing. The most effective and powerful way to become recognized as a foremost expert in your field is to become an industry thought leader. Even if you’re not all that knowledgeable and capable, by becoming an industry thought leader, you’re likely to be as effective as a talented expert when it comes to business development.
So, which type of professional are you?