“How do I find more information about high net worth clients?”
“There’s not a lot of information about them in public and very hard to do research online as well.”
A great question, because information is a weapon.
I frequently hear this question at high net worth industry conferences.
Whether you just get started or are new to the industry, or you plan to run an advertisement or develop new clients, you need this information to close deals.
However, HNW clients are very discreet, because there is no incentive to share their information in public.
This question is part of the Client Development process, which I will focus on:
- How to understand HNWIs
- How to find HNWIs
- How to form partnerships to develop new clients
How to Find More Information about HNW Clients?
The first thing is to find information about discrete HNWIs, so you can target their needs and provide products.
1. How I got into HNW client development
Right after graduating from business school, I joined Harry Winston global headquarters in New York in 2010. Soon after that, I noticed that the existing practice was for salespeople to sit in stores and wait for clients to walk in.
That was only two years after the 2008 financial crisis. The traditional approach of waiting for walk-in clients is not enough for stores to hit sales targets like before.
One afternoon, I suddenly showed up in the New York flagship store with 30 CEOs for an event. We closed $780,000 in sales in one evening. The Head of US retail described to everybody that this event has the highest ROI (return on investment) than the events he had ever held.
Few of them knew I was only hired three months ago as an MBA to make PowerPoints presentations for the CEO.
Soon after that, I was told not to make those presentations anymore. My role would be to fully focus on developing new high net worth clients for Harry Winston stores worldwide.
2. Where I found those CEOs
I guess you might want me to pause here and ask “Hold on, hold on, so where did you find those CEOs? ”
Okay: they were groups of CEOs and entrepreneurs studying in an executive program at Columbia business school. I was a program volunteer, as I was a full-time MBA student at the time.
I saw that the CEOs have a corporate visit agenda, including Bloomberg JP Morgan, Google, etc. Then I thought to myself, why couldn’t they visit Harry Winston headquarters? There are already plenty of companies discussing finance, we can talk about the marketing of a global luxury brand.
I shared my thoughts to the organizer and my manager. Green lights on both sides. I took action.
The presentation was arranged in a private room right above Harry Winston’s New York flagship salon. After the presentations, I brought the CEOs down to the salon for a cocktail. The cocktail naturally turned into a sales event, and you know what happened next.
3. The world of HNW Partnership
At Harry Winston, I worked with yacht brokers in Monaco, private assistants to billionaires in Taiwan, Miami real estate brokers who sell million dollar properties to Brazilian billionaires, casino hosts who fly high rollers in by helicopters to London and Las Vegas, and private wealth managers in New York, Hong Kong and London.
I became an expert on high net worth clients worldwide. I brought them to our stores worldwide with the help of the entire high net worth industry that I partner with.
With these partners, I visited the gigantic hidden Las Vegas MGM garden built for high rollers, the million dollar yacht in Monaco for Russians to travel and pick up their friends, the gorgeous family office in Zurich for the 1% of the world.
Yes, it’s a whole different world out there, that is discrete and hidden.
Once a store director in the UK told me before I introduced those people to him, he didn’t even know that they exist right in his city.
4. Hunt for HNW Partnerships
Sometimes my colleagues asked me where did I find these people?
“Oh, I just was partying every day and grab people from the street!”
Of course, I was kidding. I am probably the most sleepy party animal ever. My doctor almost choked with laughter when I wrote napping as one of my hobbies in my health profile.
I know how to collect information on high net worth individuals and where they gather in private.
For example, if I read Financial Times and see an interview of a CEO of a yacht company in Europe, I would immediately think, ‘We need to talk’.
Within half an hour I would already reach out to him with an introduction and an idea.
5. Learn about a day in the life of an HNWI
To understand how high net worth individuals live, a pain point is imagining a day of the life of an HNWI.
“To be is to do’ — Socrates
This quote not only applies to philosophy but also in client development.
To start with, here’s a hint for you: the HNWIs are usually inheritors of wealth, business owners, financial investors, and sometimes highly paid corporate CEOs.
6. Create a picture of HNWIs’ touch points
Next, there are many venues for you to learn more about HNWI lives and the people around your clients:
- Where they live: they usually own multiple properties, they care about real estate. They must be close to some real estate agents.
- Wealth management: they have a portfolio of investments. They stay on top of financial information with the help of an army of financial advisor‘s, sometimes a family office dedicated to them.
- Vacations: they have private jets, favorite resorts. Some fly commercial depending on the purpose.
- Source of information: what media they read, where do they learn about things.
Each of these service providers is a potential partner for you work with for new clients. You become one of the touch points in a day in the life of an HNWI.
Once you piece all these things together, you have a basic framework to work on.
7. Do Research on each touch point
Go to websites on each subject to learn more. Also, when you read news or other content, pay attention to the names of firms, brands, and agencies.
This will get you started. Over time you will know more about high net worth individual clients and have an instinct in the business.
Think about a day in the life of your HNW client.
- Think about a day in the life of your desired HNW client.
- Which services, firms, and individuals she/he might work with?
- Is there a potential mutual interest you can work with that provider?
Feel invited to join the conversation on What’s the #1 biggest challenge you have related to High Net Worth Clients? Hope to hear your thoughts in the comments below!
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Hi! I’m Tess, founder of HNW Academy, I created it to help business professionals who work with High Net Worth clients and entrepreneurs who need to convince investors. I was Global Head of Business Development at Harry Winston Diamonds and was involved in launching HSBC Premier in China.