7 ways to find the best high-net-worth prospects
By Vanessa De La Rosa
At the 2013 Million Dollar Round Table gathering, marketer Robert Berman and wealth advisor David Marc Rosell divulged the outline of their award-winning direct marketing campaign in a focus session titled, "Double your AUM and increase your revenue by 50 percent in one year." The seminar room was completely full half an hour before the session began; the assembly was so popular that security guards had to keep people from sneaking in or causing a disturbance!
In 2010, wealth advisor David Marc Rosell, of Rosell Wealth Management, was looking for a way to revamp his marketing style, which consisted primarily of radio ads. His firm was experiencing steady growth, but not the type of growth he was looking for and not with his ideal clientele.
Years prior, Rosell had attended a seminar by Robert Berman, who earned the title of National Marketer of the Year from the Advertising Specialty Institute (kind of like the MDRT of the direct marketing industry). Rosell befriended Berman and eventually asked for his help in boosting his firm's success. With Berman's expertise, Rosell Weatlh Management went on to double its assets under management and increase its revenue by 50 percent — in just 14 months. The campaign went on to win a national Excellence in Marketing Award in January 2012.
Berman took specific steps to help David Rosell focus his marketing dollars on the clients he truly wanted to attract: those who had investable assets over $1 million, were 60- to 75-years-old, and were "cool people I actually like working with."
Their unique marketing campaign — which involved sending prospects high-quality, personalized products and cover letters — was built around spending more dollars per person on a smaller, more specified group of individuals. But before they could even implement their carefully hatched plan, they needed to construct a list of about 125 high-net-worth prospects to send their creative and personalized materials to.
They took seven steps to compile a list of 250 individuals, which they then extensively culled to only the best 125, based on their budgetary constraints. Here’s a look at the six steps covered in the session that can help you do the same.
1. Meet with people you already know.
As obvious as it is, it’s vital to fully utilize the relationships you’ve already built. Berman and Rosell decided to start with the contacts in their address books. They scheduled meetings with CPAs, bankers, lawyers and entrepreneurs — anyone who might be able to suggest specific high-net-worth individuals to reach out to.
“We told them exactly what we were planning on doing and simply asked them who they thought would make good recipients. It never ceases to amaze me that when you just ask people for help how often they are willing to help you.”
2. Consult your local Book of Lists.
Assess your local Business Journal’s Book of Lists to spot the cream of the crop — top privately held companies (and their C-level team members), top attorneys, top contractors, top doctors, etc. This is a quick way to start becoming familiar with the names of successful leaders in your area. Use these lists when cross-referencing all your findings from multiple sources.
3. Conduct online research on top non-profit contributors.
High-net-worth individuals often donate large sums to charities, non-profit organizations and political parties or candidates. Top contributors are listed online as public record, so digging for names is relatively easy. On top of that, the types of organizations they support will shed more light on who they are, what’s important to them and whether or not you have anything in common.
4. Research real estate records.
As Rosell notes, “This is a tricky area because someone may have an expensive home but have no investable assets.” But there are ways to learn more. Compile information from title companies, realtors and county tax records. A great piece of advice from Berman and Rosell: If someone owns a million-dollar home and the tax documents come to that address, it’s probably a good target, especially if the documents are in the name of a trust.
5. Take advantage of search engines.
Online searches seem to be a theme here, but the key is using them in the right way (cross-referencing to make sure your list is comprised of only the best-performing names) and in the right order. Once you start narrowing the pool down, use Google or other search engines to learn more about your potential clients. Are they featured in the news? Do they serve on a particular board? Do they have a prominent hobby or interest? By performing some “light Internet stalking,” Berman and Rosell were able to better personalize their approach in truly eye-catching ways.
6. Buy a list.
The duo worked with a direct mail company to define their demographics. By honing in on certain affluent zip codes, ages, home values, household incomes, etc., they were able to both expand their pool of names and confirm their findings from their other modes of market research.
7. Cross-reference the results.
You’re bound to find hundreds of names, but odds are you can only afford to reach out to a fraction of that list. You want to focus your marketing dollars on the high-net-worth prospects with the highest probability of having approximately $1 million in investable assets and who also will be a good fit for you as a person and as an advisor.
As Berman and Rosell preach, there is no silver bullet or magic pixie dust here. By being meticulously focused, you can shave the prospecting list down to only your ideal clients and the best recipients for your strategy. Cross-reference the data from all these research methods until you can easily distinguish who should stay on your list and who is not worth the money and effort … at least not yet. Berman and Rosell found that with patience, and many distribution rounds, they were able to find and attract clients that doubled their AUM and increased their revenue by 50 percent in one year.