There are, I think, three kinds of liberty: day-to-day liberty, lifestyle liberty and mental or emotional liberty. I’d like you to consider each one as something you may be able to deliver through your products, services or business.
We’ll begin with the day-to-day. The affluent are highly stressed. More than 75% of all affluent business owners and self-employed professionals work 60 to 70 hours a week. The average affluent household with children has each child involved in at least three to five separate, organized activities each week, requiring transportation, supervision and parental involvement.
Add to this the ever-rising intrusiveness and constant connectedness imposed by technology and the ever-increasing complexity of everyday life thanks to burgeoning choices in every shopping category. Also, the more affluent a person is, the more financial responsibilities, decisions and seemingly endless paperwork flow he confronts. Together, this equals high stress, low liberty — the feeling that he has no time for himself, that he’s constantly chasing and never catching. You might think of them as desperate affluents.
On the rare occasions desperate affluents find someone of demonstrated, reliable competence to whom they can transfer some responsibility, they’ll do so eagerly and pay generously for the relief. These desperate affluents often overpay people by normal or traditional standards but consider the liberty being purchased a bargain. One desperate affluent businesswoman I know has a person who comes to her home twice a week and does the laundry, changes the bedding, goes to the grocer’s and takes and picks up clothes at the cleaners — for which she pays $500 a week. Too much? Or a bargain? What price the liberty to enjoy an evening out or be able to come home and relax at the end of a high-pressure day instead of having to wash clothes and find nothing in the fridge for dinner?
In his book The Art of Selling to the Affluent, Matt Oechsli wrote, “When people are under a lot of stress, they look for relief. They initiate many major purchase decisions to reward themselves for their hard work and as a stress release. The last thing they want is a hassle.” He spells out seven drivers of significant buying decisions by the affluent:
- They want to be respected for the level of success they’ve achieved.
- They’re successful because of the professionalism and competencethey apply to their work, and they expect no less from others.
- They’ll react strongly to any attempts to deceive them, and when (they feel) that happens, they take their business elsewhere.
- They define value in their own terms.
- Instead of striving to keep up with the Joneses, they want to be differentfrom the Joneses.
- They experience enough tension and hassles in their daily work life — they want to be freefrom all that when dealing with people who’d like to sell them something.
- They’re willing to payfor the best information and products, the highest level of competence, and the best professional service available.
Next, consider the magnification of this, to lifestyle:
- The affluent are on a life and lifestyle quest.
- They’re on a quest for respect.
- A quest for integrity.
- A quest for status and value meaningful to them.
- A quest for relief from stress and difficulty and responsibility.
- Most of all, a quest for competence.
They often arrange their lives in ways reflective of this quest. They delegate and transfer a lot of responsibility, even though, by nature and experience, they tend to be control freaks. The desperate need for relief from a myriad of overwhelming, stressful responsibilities supersedes their preference for hands-on control of everything. Consequently, many put some or all of their personal wealth under others’ management. They hire personal chefs to choose and prepare the foods and meals they eat. They let a clothier choose their wardrobe. A personal shopper chooses gifts for others. In all these instances, they’re not just attempting to buy a little time or convenience—they’re seeking to buy lifestyle liberty, or a sense of liberation from the mundane and time-consuming.
Which arrives at the third liberty they seek: mental and emotional liberty.
Napoleon Hill, legendary for his book Think and Grow Rich, wrote a lesser-known book titled Grow Rich with Peace of Mind. That title has a double meaning: that the ultimate aspiration, achievement and wealth is peace of mind and that you need peace of mind to be truly rich. The affluent have enormous demands assailing them, and look, above all else, for breathing space. A multimillionaire client recently told me of buying a very expensive “cabin” in a relatively remote area near Jackson Hole, Wyoming. He showed me a picture of the area around his place, just miles of snow-covered emptiness. Mostly, he talked of enjoying the sense of isolation from people and their demands on him.
Beyond this, the affluent are seeking liberty from critical judgment and guilt. This nation attacks its affluent relentlessly, in the media, in politics, in public and private discourse. The affluents’ Spidey-sense detects envy, jealousy, resentment and disapproval emanating from most of the people they interact with and from the public at large. It comes from close family members and distant relatives. It comes from the endless charities, causes and others at their doorstep asking for or, in some cases, nearly demanding handouts. It’s a shared angst of the affluent.
How to make yourself magnetic to the affluent
If you truly understand this quest of the affluent,it’s not difficult to see what’s required to make yourself magnetic to them — and to their money. Not necessarily in any priority order, there are three big things to do.
One, develop, display, and convey a profound position of expertise, good judgment, understanding, professionalism and competence. Present yourself as the most trustworthy of advisors. The most trusted advisors relied on by the affluent automatically and certainly become very affluent themselves.
Two, relieve your affluent clients of time, pressure, anxiety, stress, day-to-day hassle, tasks they’d rather not do or even think about or that should be below their own time’s value. Create privilege and luxury-level convenience for them.
Three, give them acceptance, approval and applause. They’re extremely responsive to those who celebrate their success and respect it as earned. Become known as a supporter and advocate of achievement and affluence. Take philosophical positions that counter the constant criticism they receive from most other quarters.