Five Entry Points into the HNW Community

You’ve bought into the logic the best way to get HNW clients is to become part of their world and raise your visibility.  You also agree, generally speaking, once people achieve a level of financial success, they get more involved in their local community.  How do you get this to work to your advantage?

Lets step back a bit.  Maybe you don’t believe they are suddenly inspired to give back.  Their involvement increases in two ways.

  1. They seek entry.  They know the local movers and shakers are involved with various community groups.  They are influencers.  They want to be counted among that group.  They want to be “one of us.”  They join and write checks.
  2. They are brought in.  These community organizations are always raising funds.  That’s what boards do!  The successful person has been identified as a prospect.  They are approached by people they would like to count as friends in the future.  They write checks.

Now that you know where these wealthy local folks are, what are the entry points for financial advisors who can write checks, but perhaps not that big?

  1. Fine wine.  It’s my favorite entry point.  It’s financial barriers are low.  Unlike the Ferrari Club, you don’t need to buy that car to be taken seriously.  People with a passion are usually eager to share it with fellow enthusiasts or people with a sincere interest in learning.  In late October I attended a high profile wine event in NYC.  While at lunch in a French Bistro before the event even started, a couple at another table heard me talking about it and started a conversation as we were walking out.  We exchanged contact information.  Later we saw them on the street and they started another conversation.  We started e-mailing back and forth immediately.
  2. The school alumni association.  Here’s the logic:  Graduates cover a huge range of ages and wealth.  They all have the school as a common factor.  If you went to a great school and live in a major city, they might even have a bricks and mortar club.  If not, there’s the alumni association events in the local area.  Although it provides a common link to every graduate, you can make inroads through the major donors who are active in the alumni association.  The school connection is a great reason to connect on LinkedIn too.
  3. The local museum.  They come in all sizes.  They have a membership program allowing you access to members only events.  Major donors often attend because they want to see how their money is being spent.  Board members often attend because it’s important for them to meet the public and show the community side of the organization.  They usually have a professional staff.  Certain people, like those running membership or fundraising are informal gatekeepers.  They know everyone.  If you want to meet someone and don’t want to do all the heavy lifting yourself, they can usually provide introductions.
  4. The local animal shelter.  This can be expanded to include zoos and parks.  These organizations draw from the HNW community for several reasons.  Care for abandoned animals seems obvious.  Zoos and parks, like museums are civic projects for the benefit of the general population.  These organizations often do event based fundraising.  The organization’s cause is their passion.  You can connect with people through their passion.
  5. Fundraising for charity.  Nonprofits get their money from various places.  Some get government or state grants.  Others have a dues paying membership base.  Others get remembered in wills and bequests.  The majority do event based fundraising, where they are out looking for sponsors.  If your organization does this too, get on that committee.  It’s a way to get in front of people with money.

These are ways to get into the world of HNW individuals and engage with them as peers, on an equal level.  Once you are part of their world, you have the opportunity to get to know them better.

Related: 10 Reasons Why Financial Planning Is Relevant Now