The senior vice president and head of national sales for a brokerage company once asked me an interesting question, “If you can get millionaires to answer all your questions, would you consider interviewing our top financial advisors? They are all great at making money for clients. But there’s more to it. How do they attract so many wealthy clients?” At the time, the company had over 10,000 advisors. This executive advised me that their advisors will not tell top management how they market to millionaires. He was hoping that they would tell me.
Most of the 60 financial advisors whom I interviewed generated at least $1 million in income annually. I was able to report that in addition to being investment experts these financial advisors were also extraordinary sales professionals (ESPs). I found that there are six characteristics of ESPs. I summarized this information along with my monograph , The Myths and Realities of the Affluent Market, in my first book, Marketing to the Affluent, aka “selling professional services to millionaires.”
Expertise is characteristic 6 of ESPs. Most professional service providers never achieve this designation. But most of the seven figure producers I interviewed did so. I have often said that “talkers are viewed as hawkers, but writers are perceived as experts.” Experts gain their status because credible sources of information (the press, for example) endorse them.
Marketing is a lot like fishing. There are two ways to fish for the affluent (millionaires). The traditional method dictates . . .chasing (the fish). But. . . the very best ESPs have discovered a different method-chumming (fish chase boat) Marketing to the Affluent, p. 19. Part of being perceived as an expert means that prospects take the initiative of contacting you instead of the other way around.
There are many places to present one’s “expertise” such as trade and professional journals. But in order to make the biggest impact on one’s prospective clients the big league business press is the place to be. I mentioned in Marketing to the Affluent, that about one in six letters to the editor submitted to The Wall Street Journal are published. Write six and what are the expected chances of success?
One of the best examples that I have seen in a long while of what I am talking about was a letter to the editor in The Wall Street Journal, April 15, 2010, p. A21. The author, Henry Donahue, is a financial advisor. He is also an expert and advocate of those who are burdened with higher and higher taxes.
Henry, like most self made economically successful people, has worked hard since he was a child. He paid his own way through college, and today he works 60 to 70 hours a week. Now, after 20 years as a financial advisor, he is beginning to generate a high income. Yet his prospects of becoming rich (in terms of accumulated wealth) are now being threatened by our government’s policy of over taxing the most productive segments of our population. Henry says it best:
Why does the government feel so entitled to steal from (the Henrys) in order to give it to others? . . . if Congress continues to buy votes at the expense of social mobility we will no longer be a great nation.
Be sure to read Henry’s letter. And note how ideally suited it was to be published on tax day!
10 thoughts on “Henry Is an Expert”
Not another Henry!
At the time of Eisenhower’s presidency the marginal top rates were 90%. The REASON the wealthy are taxed more is that they are getting the biggest gain from the society and therefore OWE it to the society to give back. I am tired of this whole notion that we are a libertarian nation when so much of the wealth has come from the backs of our nations laws, infrastructure and services (yes like firemen and more) Now I agree that there is room for debate over the tax code and blah blah blah, but taxes are patriotic. Frankly, a lot of the people making more than 2 million per year are perversely NOT NOT NOT the most productive members of society. I say let the Henrys of the world go GALT and live in Somalia. I mean wealth “advisors” are mostly a friggin joke and I think pilots, farmers and engineers should be paid more, bankers should be paid a little less. A higher tax rate would reduce the greed factor and that may have a better effect on the large scale financial crimes that have happened since the repeal of Glass-Steagal. But hey, just keep promoting the myth of the Horatio-Alger bootstrap – just don’t forget that Americans have a lot of advantages and no one here succeeds purely “on their own.”
I believe this is the article:
Well, we managed to become a great nation back when the top tax rate was 94%.
What goes around, comes around!
Well, we managed to be a great nation back when the top tax rate was 94% (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Income_tax_in_the_United_States) .
What goes around, comes around!
This is very true! However, The article was written by Mike Donahue, according to WSJ.com. “Henry” = (high earners, not rich yet) is not the real name. With that being said, keep up doing the great work you do! I have 3 of your books and read this blog every day!
“A lot of the people making more than 2 million per year are perversely NOT NOT NOT the most productive members of society.”
How many such people do you actually know, personally?
I’m curious. Where do you think jobs come from? Cause the thing is, every single job I’ve ever held was provided by one of those “non productive members of society” you seem to loath.
“The REASON the wealthy are taxed more is that they are getting the biggest gain from the society and therefore OWE it to the society to give back.”
You clearly have no grasp of basic facts. Go take a look at a chart of the Federal budget. Guess what? over half the annual budget is spent on social programs like Social Security and Medicare! The notion that the highly productive in America are benefiting from these bloated programs is ludicrous. The highly productive wealthy provide for their OWN retirement and for their OWN health insurance.
“Taxes are patriotic.”
Again you show no understanding of history. What did the original patriots of our country have to say about this?
“A national revenue must be obtained; but the system must be
such a one, that, while it secures the object of revenue it shall not be
oppressive to our constituents.”
Under current income taxes, the top 10% of earners — those you seem to hate so much — pay 70% of our nation’s taxes. That’s 70% of ALL tax revenue. And this is what you call fair?
You seem to love the notion of 90% top tax rates — of course, other people are paying them, not you. Clearly James Madison would take issue with your oppressive tax plan.
An income tax — at ANY percentage rate — was rejected by the founding fathers because it punished success. They decided on a tax of goods and imports.
“The suppression of unnecessary offices, of useless
establishments and expenses, enabled us to discontinue our internal
He bragged in his second inaugural address that internal taxes weren’t needed! This is a far cry from todays politicians who try to convince us that MORE internal income taxes are the answer.
Of course, you’re aware that the entire War for Independence was begun over unfair taxes, right? Your history is backwards. So much for “patriotic.”
“I say let the Henrys of the world go GALT.”
Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it. I wonder who will be paying for your precious entitlements if that ever happens…..
Kudos Ben for your post
In the first book, The Millionaire Next Door, it was the UNDER accumulators of wealth that worried about taxes, remember ? That is because they paid a higher percentage of their worth, since most of it was coming from income. The PAWs, having accumulated so well, actually paid a lower overall percentage.
So now the story is changing ????
I was furious at Karen’s post – and had quite a bit to say – until I read Benjamin’s post. He nailed it.
To quote Bob McEwen – “The greater the government (taxes), the greater the poverty. The greater the opportunity, the greater the freedom.”
People who benefit the most from taxes always seem to think they’re entitled to their lifestyle, while the people who know that they have to fight with their teeth and nails to earn their lifestyle never wait for their ship (or Social Security, or Worker’s Comp) to come in, they go out and get it.
Henry’s quote really distills the essence of what happens when politics interferes with productivity.