The Millionaire Next Door

Selling to the Affluent

Selling to the Affluent is more than just the title of my second book.   From mansions to Maserati cars, selling to the affluent is a vocation that has enormous potential for job seekers. 

Households with realized incomes of $250,000 or more make up less than 3% of the population yet account for 25% of total income.  Those in the $1M and over category account for about 0.30 % of the households yet they generate more than 11% of total personal income.  Even more important,  the household population in the $1M and over income category is growing at a rate nearly 5 times faster than the total household population.  Yet most of those who currently attempt to sell to the affluent are more “order takers” than proactive marketers.

But there are exceptions.  I have written about these extraordinary sales professionals; several dozen are profiled in Selling to the Affluent.  Nearly all of these people started without the benefit of having any relatives or friends who were wealthy.  How do I respond when people tell me that they can’t sell to the affluent because they are not from a wealthy family, they lack a business school degree, they have no previous experience in sales, they are already middle-aged, they are too tall, too short, etc.?  I tell them to go read the book!

Here is just one case example from the book. For over 20 years Jackie was a homemaker.  After her 40th birthday, she became a residential real estate agent.  During her first 8 years, she sold exclusively within a three mile market radius of her home. This area contained mostly 2 and 3 bedroom modest, single family homes.  When she eventually left that market, she had 85 listings, 60 of which she had sold at least once before. 

I wanted to be a specialist. . . to know one area backwards and forwards and upside down.  I could tell you every house, who were the five owners, how many kids, what they did for a living. . . my broker said I was stupid and would never amount to anything.  He said any successful person does not specialize in one area.  I said, ‘you may be right but this is what I chose for my life.’

She was so successful in her approach that she was then hired as one of the on site agents at an exclusive Jack Nicklaus’ development known as Country Club of the South.  Within 3 years Jackie became the top residential real estate salesperson within the Atlanta market area. 

Most of her clients were very wealthy entrepreneurs (many of whom had just recently taken their company public).  Others included senior corporate executives, entertainers, professional athletes, and highly compensated professionals.  Just before my first interview with her, she had sold an expensive home to an anesthesiologist.  Not long after that she sold 5 other houses to this physician’s partners using her well deserved endorsement and proactive approach. 

Jackie told me about some of the most important questions she asked her wealthy entrepreneurial clients.

You know, any average agent will probably say price range. I ask about . . ., what they do for a living, how they got started, how did your business get so big, how long did it take you, and so, I think I just ask the right questions.

Jackie intuitively recognized that you honor entrepreneurs when you ask them how they built their business.  Most ordinary sales people would never ask this question.  But they do ask, how much do you have to spend?  Jackie never does. 

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