Multi-million Dollar Clients
June 12, 2012
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When it comes to attracting new clients, new and different approaches are critical. While some advisors are experimenting with social media to grow their business, a recent conversation reminded me that advisors can still learn from longstanding, proven approaches that have been employed by advisors with elite clients.
A private banker’s approach to business development
In February, I spoke at an American Bankers Association conference in Phoenix. During one of the breaks, I got into a conversation about business development with an attendee who runs the trust operation for a mid-sized bank.
He began his career in the 1980s working for the private banking operation for one of the storied, blue-chip investment management firms in New York City. Their clients had a minimum of $10 million and often much more than that – they worked with current or former CEOs, ultra-successful business owners or third or fourth generations of old money.
Confidentiality is essential for every client, but it’s particularly important when working at the top of the market. Even in the face of that, this firm had developed a low-key approach to business development (they would never call it prospecting) that produced consistent results over time.
Identifying possible connections
In advance of meeting with a client, the private banker would go to the firm’s library, which archived directories of Boards of Directors of public companies, Who’s Who in America, membership lists at private clubs and similar resources. The private banker would go through these with the goal of identifying one or more people with whom this client was connected.
If the meeting had gone well and the tone was positive, the advisor might conclude by saying:
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