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Networking With The Affluent And Their Advisors
Thomas J. Stanley, Ph.D.
If you need to rub elbows with the affluent, who better to learn from than the man who made a career of studying the wealthy? Thomas Stanley, bestselling author of The Millionaire Mind and The Millionaire Next Door, teaches us the networking methods of a variety of individuals who cater to and do business with the rich in his new book, Networking With The Affluent And Their Advisors.
Stanley writes: "...always remember that you will succeed in marketing if you focus on the needs of your targets." What are the needs of the affluent? Stanley focuses upon eight valuable services that individuals can provide to the affluent.
According to Stanley, the "Eight Faces of Networking" are:
Noticeably missing from Stanley's list is walking poodles. What sort of pets do the rich have anyway? Are they largely cat people or dog people? Or do they tend to avoid pets altogether due to the cost of caring for the furry little fellows? Stanley is silent on the issue.
But, I guess offering to walk a potential client's poodle wouldn't enhance the image of a serious business professional anyway. So, we'll let Stanley off the hook on this point of omission. Each of his other networking suggestions would tend to enhance a businessperson's image and reputation as a savvy businessperson with the client.
Being a talent scout means providing your network with information about reliable suppliers and people who might be able to provide valuable services. For example, Stanley notes that the majority of the wealthy are business owners, so they are constantly looking for sources of supply for their businesses.
Suppose the fat cat you want to do business with owns a bakery chain. If you've focused your attention upon the food industry, you might just know a good supplier of butter or doilies. That information will come in handy when fat cat laments the lack of reliable doily suppliers. By asking fat cat about his most important goals and concerns, you learn how you can be of service to him.
Of course, if the doily supplier delivers deformed doilies, you might lose the goodwill of the fat cat. Stanley tells us that we must only endorse people who will provide quality services and products, otherwise we compromise the value of our personal network.
Stanley says that it's often wisest to focus upon networking within a few industries because positive word-of-mouth flows more rapidly through inter-industry communication than through intra-industry communication. And, we learn that one of the best places to learn about an industry are the industry's trade publications and associations.
So, while you're browsing through Gingersnap Today, in addition to learning about the industry, you'll learn about the movers and shakers of the baking industry. More people to add to your potential food network, more potential baker clients.
What do most bakers really care about? In fact, what do most wealthy people care about? Dough, of course! Money. Business owners, especially, are always looking to grow their revenue. So, if you enhance a business owner's revenue, you will become a valuable member of his or her network.
Would doily supplier dare drop doing business with you in favor of your competition if you are providing many referrals and enhancing his doily revenue? Especially, if other people providing the same core service don't enhance his revenue at all?
Stanley gives us the example of a financial advisor who was talking with the wealthy owner of a welding company. Rather than focusing upon the financial advisor's
Upon meeting the wealthy welder, the financial advisor immediately said that he had several clients who owned oil rigs which needed welding services. He put the welder in contact with the oil riggers. The welder received much business and opened a multimillion dollar account with the financial advisor.
Of course, savvy networking is sometimes derogatorily referred to as "The Old Boy's Network," where members only tend to do business with other members. But, everyone has the opportunity to create their own network. Building networks is an equal opportunity endeavor. Unfortunately, sometimes, people have network envy.
Also, notice that financial advisors and others offering core services to the wealthy tend to benefit most from such networking. This is especially true if the basic service provided is largely undifferentiated, as it typically is with accounting services or financial advising, for example.
Of course, with many financial advisors, we can question the value of the core service. Possibly, revenue enhancement is the only reason some business owners keep accounts with various money managers who tend to underperform the market. Stanley argues that the core service provided clients must be worthwhile to secure and retain business. But, core services being equal, the provider who excels at revenue enhancement will probably win.
While revenue enhancement is crucial, maybe, top dog's greatest concern is building his new home. He's a successful doctor who hates negotiating and doesn't have the time for it. But, it so happens that you know the building contracting business and are a strong negotiator. By acting as a purchasing agent for members of your network, you can save members money. And, as they say, a penny saved is a penny earned.
Stanley relates the story of a successful CPA who saved his wealthy client about $70,000 on the purchase of a new home. When the successful doctor told Mr. CPA about his new home plans along with its 15% builder's fee and extra fees and commissions here and there, Mr. CPA offered to negotiate the final purchase on behalf of his client. Knowing construction, Mr. CPA knew that a 10% builder's fee was fair. But, the commission, paid to the builder, on the sale of the lot, owned by the builder, had to go.
Saving members of your network money on expensive purchases is one more way to benefit them.
Overall, if you provide a service to wealthy individuals and you wish to increase the value of your networking skills, you might want to pick up a copy of Networking With The Affluent And Their Advisors by Thomas J. Stanley.