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Today’s Wealthy: International, Lifestyle-Driven and Value Conscious

May 6, 2011

Posted by

Laurie Moore-Moore

Laurie Moore-Moore is the founder and CEO of The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing, an international training and membership organization for agents who work in the upper tier. The Institute offers Read more

Reports on the number of wealthy individuals indicate that the wealthy are back.  Did the downturn alter their attitudes?  While the majority are still making their money the same way, their focus on value and quality has risen and their lifestyle is more international than ever before.  Here are nine research-based insights about the wealthy (who range from high net worth individuals to the uber rich).

1.)  New money dominates old money, and business equity and business income are the primary wealth creators.  The majority of the world’s wealthy have made their own money rather than inheriting and they are generally highly educated, hardworking business super stars.  They are bottom-line oriented, know the numbers in their businesses, and expect you to have relevant real estate stats at your fingertips.

2.)  The rich choose what they buy based on perceived quality as well as on a home’s lifestyle and their personal taste.  They may fall in love with the look and feel of a home and the lifestyle it represents, but you should also take the time to talk about the quality, craftsmanship, and brands they can trust.  These things are important to them.  Be careful not to imply they can’t recognize quality and don’t ever tell them what they need.

3.)  When buying, they “play to win” by shopping for value.  This value-driven focus may help explain why Target, Costco and other discount stores have become shopping destinations for the affluent.  They still shop at luxury stores, too; but they buy basic needs at discount.  Value will be a factor in their home purchase decision.  Expect them to have done pricing research online.  Be prepared to justify price with a thorough statistical analysis of the market in the relevant price range.  The home will still be an emotional purchase, but they will need to justify their purchase by feeling that there is value associated with quality, craftsmanship, design, price, rarity, status or other factors.

4.)  Event marketing works in reaching the rich.  Success can breed loneliness and special VIP events may be viewed as helping them connect with other successful people.  They often want to learn to be connoisseurs, so look for creative ideas for events that are fun, exclusive and educational.  Find other purveyors of luxury products and services who market to the wealthy and create joint events.  For instance, some agents arrange wine tasting events featuring a sommelier from a luxury hotel or high-end restaurant as a client appreciation event.

5. )  The wealthy use the Internet.  Chances are good the affluent will “research” you online before choosing to work with you and they’ll want to know they can communicate with you via email.  They also want complete property information online so they can find everything they want and need to know about a house from their hotel room in Tokyo or their condo in Dubai at 2:00 in the morning (in their pajamas).  This means not only should your listings be online, but you should post complete information including lots of photographs, floor plans, and thorough descriptions—ideally everything a prospect would need to make a decision.  If privacy is an issue and your seller wants limited information available to the public, have a password-protected section of your property website so you can limit access to complete information to fully qualified prospects that you’ve vetted.

6.)  The most important characteristics the affluent want in a salesperson are competency, integrity, and authenticity.  To succeed in this niche you must know your market and polish your skills, including your ability to establish rapport and convey your integrity and honesty.  If you can establish that you share some values with them, they may feel more comfortable about working with you.  You must also be genuine and sincere.  Once they feel that they can trust you and that you are authentic, then they’ll decide if you have the necessary skills and tools to help them accomplish their goals.

7.)  They have some terminology preferences.  Rather than referring to them as rich or wealthy, use the word successful.  Other advice that came from research interviews—when selling, avoid using lots of flowery adjectives.  Keep your verbiage simple and direct.

8.)  They buy stories.  While they don’t like adjectives, they do like stories.  Dig for the true stories that will romance your listings and use the stories in your marketing.  The appeal of stories is part of “The Search for Magic” which super successful consumers undertake.  Choosing a luxury property is an emotional decision.  We all buy what “makes our hearts sing” and a story which can be shared with others adds value for a buyer.

9.)  They have adopted an international lifestyle and are increasingly global in their tastes, attitudes, and interests.  The very successful often have homes in multiple countries;  their children may live abroad and most travel.  As a result, their lifestyles have an international flavor.  As a recent article in The Atlantic said, “… (the super rich) are becoming a transglobal community of peers who have more in common with each other than with their countrymen back home.  Whether they maintain primary residences in New York or Hong Kong, Moscow or Mumbai, today’s super rich are increasingly a nation unto themselves.”

Recognize these characteristics and understand how to utilize this information in working with the very successful and you’ll capture more wealthy prospects, enhance the service you deliver, and be on your way to being the real estate professional of choice for today’s very affluent buyer and seller.