Third in a four-part series.

Referrals are without question the most effective way to source the wealthy. As you move up the affluence spectrum, referrals take on ever-increasing importance. A few of the super-rich make decisions on which professionals to work with based solely on their reputation or brand. Professionals could also get lucky and run into a super-rich prospect at a sporting event. Fostering referrals, however, is the optimal way to go.

There are two types of referrals: direct referrals and influencer referrals. Direct referrals are when your clients or other people you know introduce you to their wealthy associates. Influencer referrals are introductions to the super-rich from other professionals who they're usually working with.

Advisors should try to generate a steady stream of influencer referrals, which are the superior of the two. The very nature of the relationships influencers have with their super-rich clients enables them to channel business to other professionals. The same can rarely be said for the super-rich themselves. In effect, if you want to work with the super-rich, you'll more likely be able to access them through influencers than through direct referrals.

Direct Referrals
A direct referral is, for example, when a private-client attorney picks up a client worth nearly $1 billion after being introduced to him by a current client. The current client is the controller at a company owned by the near-billionaire and has been working there for more than 30 years. When the near-billionaire, at a corporate retreat, mentions to the controller that his private-client attorney has badly messed things up, the controller is there with the referral. If we're dealing with direct referrals, they will most likely come from highly satisfied clients. This means it's critical that you engender loyalty and make your clients your advocates.

The 6C Framework
There are a number of approaches to creating advocates for your expertise. The "6C Framework" is one of the most effective. It requires the following factors (See Figure 1):

Character. One of the important personal qualities is
integrity. Another personal quality is trustworthiness. And the majority of loyal clients see the professionals they recommend as highly dependable.
Chemistry. Loyal wealthy clients prefer professionals who know what they like to talk about. Along the same lines, most of super-rich want to see eye to eye with their advisors on important issues.
Caring. This is shown when professionals put the well being of their clients ahead of making money. It's when professionals have taken the time to know the goals and objectives of their wealthy clients, knowing what's seriously important to them.
Competence. The technical proficiencies of the professionals are very important. However, most professionals, even though they might be extraordinarily capable, tend to keep their high-caliber expertise a secret. Consequently, the importance of a dual-impact brand cannot be overstated.
Consulting. It's essential to work for and with the super-rich. That translates into developing a cooperative orientation, knowing the appropriate contact parameters and making sure all communications with the extremely wealthy are highly customized.
Cost-effectiveness. The super-rich can be quite cost-sensitive. While they're usually willing to pay for quality, they want value. Consequently, the professionals they work with are adept at tying the value
provided to the fees or commissions.

Character, chemistry, caring and competence provide the foundation for super-rich client loyalty.  These four core factors can get you about halfway there. Adopting a consultative approach is the most decisive factor. Lastly, it's necessary to be cost-effective. 

Character, chemistry, caring and competence work in lockstep. If a super-rich client perceives you as caring, then you're highly likely to be perceived as having character; the chemistry between you and the client would then be good and you would also be regarded as very competent. As noted, these four factors are the starting point and the foundation for building loyalty.

That said, those four attributes do not mean you have a consultative approach (i.e., a non-sales, client-centered approach). Nor do they have much of an impact on the cost-effectiveness of your client relationship. But being consultative dramatically affects the four core factors. Simply put, the more consultative you are the more you will be seen as having character, competence, a caring nature and exceptional chemistry with the client. Also, by being highly consultative, the cost of your financial products and services are seen as less of an issue.

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