Competition for high net worth clients has never been more fierce among financial advisors. For banks, this affluent segment represents a small percentage of their customer base, but it’s responsible for about 80% of the profits. The big players have a big incentive to attract and keep this audience. But so do wealth management firms and independent advisors.
As a result, we’re seeing a land rush for who can come out ahead to offer the most compelling capabilities and personalized experiences.
But who are these affluent customers, and why are traditional methods of engaging them no longer effective?
The changing face of wealth
While baby boomers represent up to $70 trillion in assets, over the next 10-25 years much of that wealth will transfer to younger generations. And when it comes to money management and investing, there are distinct differences between these generational segments:
- Boomers tend to prefer safety and stability, trusting large institutions, brand names, and prestige factors.
- Gen X is tech savvy, seeks transparency from their banks, freedom of self-service, and mass luxury.
- Millennials are digital-natives, want socially responsible investments, and often rely on peer advice through social media. And watch out: 66% of this generation will fire their parent’s financial advisor after they inherit.1
The four C’s to attract affluent customers
The one-size-fits-all financial services experience no longer applies. People now look for who offers the best digital self-serve capabilities, but they also want a highly personalized relationship with a trusted advisor. That means understanding what sets a given firm apart from others and makes it right for them.
To stand out in a crowded market, financial advisors should think about engaging affluent clients in terms of four C’s of differentiation…
Don’t simply be a vendor, build a relationship. The events of 2020 made it even more critical to develop strategies for engaging conversations in video and other digital channels to share your firm’s unique viewpoint and personality. Position yourself as a thought leader with impactful blogs and social media content that help educate younger investors. And create communication tools you can use at various stages of prospecting, such as interview guides focused on learning client goals and values.
When developing a strategy for attracting affluent clients, be sure to segment target audiences and create offerings and communications tailored for each segment. These audiences will expect you to know them if you want to build connection.
To differentiate, you need to get creative. That means fresh engagement strategies, fresh messaging, innovative technologies, and of course, new ways to empower your internal teams. Sometimes an outside perspective from a seasoned agency partner can help you get there. Whatever the case, look to create sustainable processes for driving innovation at every level. The payoff can come as new clients and more loyal relationships, increased revenue streams from new products and services, and a boost to your firm’s brand image.
Another creative approach is to tap your clients for insights on what they want most from their wealth advisor. Develop a Voice of the Customer program to identify and mitigate pain points, and discover opportunities to improve the client experience.
3. Client Advocacy
Worried about losing clients when wealth transfers to new generations? Rolling out a company reorganization or major change initiatives that may impact clients? Think back to day one when you welcomed new clients. Reinvent that experience for them by redoubling your efforts to learn what’s important to them and strengthen relationships. It’s a great way to show empathy for their concerns, and turn clients into brand advocates for your firm.
To help ensure a smooth transition during change, conduct research via client focus groups and use data to segment your audiences. Managing your rollout by segment, including communicating via their preferred channels, can help minimize attrition and reduce support calls, while improving customer satisfaction.
4. Client Experience
Sharpen your focus on clients by improving communications across all channels. For starters, you may need to refresh messaging to infuse empathy and eliminate industry jargon. You’ll also want to make sure key takeaways about your client-focused value proposition are conveyed consistently and powerfully across collateral and sales decks, website, social media and other content marketing, even in client letters.
It’s also valuable to map the customer journey to understand the experience people have with your brand across all channels and all stages of the client lifecycle. Even a high-level view can help you identify the diverse needs and preferences of different wealth segments to better personalize your outreach to prospects and clients. A journey map also often uncovers problems to enable faster resolution, as well as opportunities for taking action to delight clients and build stronger relationships.
Most importantly, ensure that everyone in your organization understands how to bring your brand promise to life, whether they directly engage clients or support key operations. It can help to define best practice communication standards, model language tools, and workshops that get everyone on the same page and focused on the client experience you want to deliver.
Attracting and retaining wealthy clients may get even more challenging in the coming years. Adopting the 4 C’s can make you more agile and primed for better results. With these creative approaches, you can focus your efforts and build more lasting value into your client relationships.
1 4 Ways Financial Advisors Can Win Millennial Clients,Impax Asset Mgmt, Feb 2019
2 The great wealth transfer – what boomers and their families need to know, BenefitsPro, Nov 2020