Many financial advisors, as well as lawyers, accountants and other professionals, are focusing more on the wealthy when trying to build new clientele. This segment is willing to pay for value. It’s also growing, and as it does, the number of professionals serving it is rapidly increasing as well.

The biggest obstacle advisors face in serving the rich is their inability to develop business—to connect with wealthy prospects that become wealthy clients. It helps if the advisors are experts in some field. But their business model is also important.

Advisors struggling with this problem might consider turning to business development coaches.

These coaches use many different methodologies to share their expertise with financial professionals. We’re not going to list all the models, but we’ll describe three.

• Educational coaches: These experts give you insight into high-net-worth families and often referral sources, and explain ways you can attract them.

• Situation-specific coaches: These people work with you on particular business development situations. After you detail a set of circumstances, they walk you through different ways to achieve your desired results. For example, you can discuss how to best frame investment recommendations to a committee of wealthy family members. Your coach, in this case, could help you match up solutions with your wealthy clients’ particular interests.

• Situation-involved coaches: These coaches “partner” with you—act as part of your team and periodically have direct contact with the high-net-worth prospects, clients and other professionals you want to work with.

It’s not uncommon for the three models to bleed into one other, and many development coaches work in all three ways. If they are effective, you can see it in your bottom lines, and after a while you will know because the coaches have made themselves unnecessary after getting you started.

There are many differences among the three models that are worth noting.

Educational Coaching
Here, the coach is acting simply as your teacher, sharing high-net-worth business development strategies. The cost for this coach is on the lower side; he or she will often charge either a program or retainer fee. But although the cost is lower, you bear all the economic risk when you try putting the coach’s expertise into practice.

This is the most common model for high-net-worth business development coaching. It can be provided to large groups of professionals, or the coach can work with you one on one. While a lot is left to you when it comes to implementation, it’s usually a very good way for you to understand high-net-worth business development.


Situation-Specific Coaching
These coaches are more involved, and go beyond teaching you simple methodology—they also review particular cases and opportunities and help you determine a course of action for them.

Here, you pay a program or retainer fee. It costs more than the first model, but is often much less than the next model.

Situation-Involved Coaching
This is a much more immersive model, one in which your coach works with you shoulder to shoulder in the trenches to build your high-net-worth practice. Accordingly, the relationship costs more. Working as partners, the coaches use their methodology with prospects, clients and potential referral sources to help you deliver greater value and become more successful. Both the professionals and the coaches make decisions.

Under this model you learn and become much more adept by replicating the way the coach is getting results. These coaches are compensated by program fees or retainer fees, or—in more sophisticated arrangements—according to some production goal, or otherwise by some combination of all these payment types.

Again, because of the relatively intense level of involvement, the cost is higher here than it is for the other two coaching models. For instance, monthly retainers of $10,000 or more are pretty common for coaches in this model. But at the same time, it’s possible for you to shift some of the risk to the coach—if you don’t generate considerably more targeted revenue, the coaching costs less or possibly nothing. But if the coach supercharges your practice and you blow past your targeted revenue, you pay more.

These types of coaches are also more selective about whom they take on as clients. Since their compensation is tied to their success, they only take on well-suited candidates.

Pick What’s Right For You
The model you choose best depends on you—it’s based on where you are today and what you want to achieve. It also depends on how fast you want to reach your business goals. But none of the models work unless you make them work.

And when they don’t, it’s often because you failed to follow through on the coach’s guidance. If you want to move upmarket but fail to systematically apply what you’ve been taught, then it’s likely you won’t succeed. And, most of the time, there’s no way for the coaches to change this.

In the end, it’s always up to you.

Russ Alan Prince is president of R.A. Prince & Associates. Brett Van Bortel is director of consulting services for Invesco Consulting.