• March 1, 2005
  • By Colin Beasty, (former) Associate Editor, CRM Magazine

Required Reading: The Rich Are Different

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Most affluent people are self-made, work 60 hours a week, and make decisions based on careful evaluation. They demand a different set of criteria to sell to than the general public. A salesperson must know their techniques, their ability to analyze, and their hard-charging work ethic. In his new book, The Art of Selling to the Affluent: How to Attract, Service, and Retain Wealthy Customers and Clients for Life, Matt Oechsli goes far beyond the techniques of simply making a sale, and stresses the importance of knowing your target and becoming one with the affluent. Based on research conducted on the affluent market since 1999, Oechsli guides salespeople through the common stumbling blocks to selling to America's wealthiest. CRM
magazine's Colin Beasty spoke with Oechsli about a market Oechsli says is relatively untouched and highly profitable. CRM magazine: How did your research for this book influence it? Oechsli: We wanted to know how the affluent went about making these decisions, from banking services--getting financial advice--to making major purchases. We really wanted to see if there was a common theme, was there something we could pull out of this. From that came The Art of Selling to the Affluent. It's the second research project we've done on the affluent in the past five years. The previous one was specifically related to their perception of the financial world. What we found was, they do careful evaluations and comparative analysis, they're highly educated, more than 80 percent of them have college degrees, more than 40 percent of them have graduate degrees, and that they do a lot of research. CRM magazine: You write about some of the key stumbling blocks in selling to the affluent. What are they? Oechsli: People don't understand the affluent, so when they try to sell to them they try too hard and come across as salespeople. The companies that are trying to market their products need to be careful, because their advertising is often not linked to the reality. The other thing is that they're very price-value conscious. To get people to do repeat business with you, the two most crucial ingredients are quick problem resolution (they don't expect it to be perfect) and high-level, personalized service. They don't want a call center; they want to talk to a person. Other Page Turners:
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