You probably noticed the similarity in the words "influence" and "affluent" – their roots both are related to flow. Check it out at the local etymology online dictionary. "Influence" was originally an astrological term referring to the flow of power from the stars to the people and "affluence" is related to an inflowing of resources or prosperity. Today, influencing the affluent can help you grow your business, your fan base, contributions to your cause, get you elected, get you a job, among the many benefits of influencing the affluent. We’ll define "affluent" as enjoying abundance/prosperity or simply having more money than you do. (Realize that many people see you as affluent!)
3 Myths About Influencing the Affluent:
Myth #1. In today’s economy, money is scarce.
It may feel that money is scarce for you, it’s possible you have less cash in your bank than you did 3 years ago. It’s also true that the value of the stock market is not as high as it has been. But there is still an unprecedented amount of money in the world. Twenty years ago Buckminster Fuller observed that there was enough money in the world that we could easily allocate $1 million to each person on the planet. While there are more people here today, there is also a lot more money.
What is true: People at all levels of income are more careful about spending money.
Myth #2. It’s too much trouble to try to influence affluent people; they’re too picky!
A client recently commented that one thing she knew for sure was that the higher the prestige the account, the more difficult the people were to deal with. (Interesting because she was not dealing with owners of the businesses, only employees who were probably not more highly-paid,) In other words, selling to the more prestigious medical centers (in her case) was more trouble than selling to the less well-known medical centers. But that is not to deny the payoff in working with high-prestige, high-net-worth accounts.
Here’s the deal. It requires more effort to influence the affluent. They have more choices, more access to information, more experiences, more savvy. But once you establish a relationship of deep trust, affluent accounts are more loyal. They also have significant sway with their affluent friends and colleagues.
Myth #3: Affluent people are arrogant.
In some cases this is true but I bet you know some UNaffluent people who are cocky, too. Even the seemingly arrogant affluent suffer tremendously from fear. There are 2 specific fears you want to be aware of among the affluent:
Fear of losing their level of prosperity.
Did you know that the people on the Forbes 400 list, the highest net-worth people on the planet, get seriously annoyed (even depressed) when they slip in position on that list? While you and I may be thinking how great it must be to get on that list; these people are studying the rank and trying improve their position on that list. Read biographies of the people on this list and you’ll see what I’m writing about.
Fear that you only care about their money, and not about them.
Both of these fears can come across as paranoia, which is not only unattractive, it’s off-putting. However, you have a lot to gain if you can work through these fears and establish a solid relationship with the affluent. Trying to build any sort of relationship that is not mutually beneficial is useless. To influence the affluent, you really want to see how you add value to their lives and/or businesses.
That means you have to treat them like Very Important People, which happens to be the case. Anyone you want to do business with is a VIP, as are you!
Influencing high-prestige accounts or high-income clients demands intention and attention to detail. These people have more at stake and more to lose if you fail to deliver what you promise. Influencing the affluent requires that you polish your poise and your presentation. The pay-off is big: by influencing the affluent, you enjoy more impact in the world. It also raises your own level of affluence.
What’s your experience with Influencing the Affluent?