I’ll start with the punch line: There is no simple, surefire solution for developing business with the ultra-high-net-worth investor.

I regularly speak, meet and interact with the mosaic of people, families and firms that constitute the private wealth industry and nearly everyone wants to know how to land more high-end accounts—only easier and faster. I understand the desire, but not the reasoning.

If reeling in a billionaire is considered the pinnacle of success, then it stands to reason it will require more effort, time and investment to do so. Then why is there such an aversion to leveraging human, intellectual and capital resources in order to gain valuable business? Instead, I’m routinely confronted with evidence of frugality, indolence and delusion when it comes to building relationships with the very wealthy.

Despite the endless requests I get for master lists of family offices, there is no single list, event, white paper, advertisement or blog post that will open the floodgates to new business. There is no one influencer, investment, product or service that will reliably deliver more assets. Until these facts are acknowledged, we’ll continue to see lots of initial attempts by private wealth professionals that are abandoned when they don’t deliver immediate results.

This all sounds eerily similar to dieting. People know that losing weight can be achieved by eating less and exercising more, but they still yearn for a solution that will let them eat more and exercise less or not at all. Every year, hundreds of new ideas, programs and procedures are introduced with an eye toward circumventing the hard work and commitment needed to drop unwanted pounds. Most lifelong dieters agree that if they had simply channeled the money and energy spent on shortcuts into following a proven, long-term regimen they would be slimmer, healthier and possess a true understanding of what works and why. We can and should learn from this.

The goal of attracting and managing significant wealth calls for the same kind of hard work and commitment. New technology is helpful, but only a tool.
Leading-edge strategies are great, but rarely sufficient by themselves. A well-connected resource is an advantage, but not a panacea. There is no shortcut to developing trust with clients or influencers, nor is there a way to truncate the process for amassing the critical knowledge and experience that form the basis of most successful relationships. It’s a multi-pronged, integrated, long-haul effort that unfolds over time. What’s the real silver bullet? Closing the gap between knowing what to do and doing what needs to be done. When it closes, the results will follow.