Influence With Ease: Dealing With Wealthy Customers

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Five strategies for boosting your business with high net worth clients

Ever notice that sometimes folks act differently around wealthy people? I think it’s because (whether we admit it or not) most of us want rich people to like and accept us.

The problem I’ve noticed as a customer service strategist, is that sometimes when employees interact with customers who they perceive to be of higher status, they try too hard to impress. Or at the other extreme, some employees become too submissive ie. a doormat.

Here are four strategies for building stronger relationships with high net worth customers. (They also work with the rest of your customers as well.)

Get clear about your status
There’s no upside to acting either superior or inferior to your customers. If you act superior, you come across as arrogant. If you act inferior, you’ll be perceived as obsequious and customers won’t respect you. Better to put yourself at the same status as your customers.

The question is, what’s the relationship that customers value most with service providers? I’ll tell you what it’s not. Your relationship goal is not to become your customer’s friend. Your customers already have their own friends–and they’re free. What customers value is a service provider who they regard as their Trusted Advisor. Customers will pay a premium (and show more respect) when dealing with a trusted advisor.

Earn early respect
Earning early respect means if a customer is trying to talk with you while chatting ontheir cellphone, it’s best to smile and respond with, “I’ll take care of you as soon as you’re finished your call.”

If a customer asks you a question while staring down at their paperwork, don’t answer their question. Instead, wait till they actually look you in the eye, then say “Hello. Yes, I can help you with that.” By waiting to have the person’s undivided attention, you convey you are a human–not a doormat–who is worthy of respect.

Prove you’re somebody
In general, when you introduce yourself, share your first and last name. Often we just tell people our first name because we are being casual–like friends, right?

But remember, you’re not trying to be your customer’s pal, you want to be seen as their trusted advisor. More importantly when you share your last name, you instantly convey the message, “If you have a question or concern you should ask for me (which is why I’m giving my full name). I’m not trying to hide or be anonymous. I’m comfortable being held accountable.”

Listen more. Talk Less
Perhaps the quickest way to turn-off customers is talking too much. Or talking when we should be listening. When listening, try to understand what lies beneath the customer’s surface request. The more you demonstrate that you understand your customer’s unexpressed and eventual needs, the more you’ll be seen as a trusted advisor.

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