How what you wear increases client connections

Ensuring a client’s comfort level when they’re with you means far more than offering them a beverage or asking about their family. Those things should be done automatically as a normal level of service. MDRT members, however, strive to go beyond this level. To do that, consider mirroring clients’ preferences, including how they dress when they meet with you or who they will feel most comfortable with if you refer them to attorneys or accountants. 

“If you’re seeing a wealthy farming client, don’t show up overdressed,” said 22-year MDRT member Micheline Varas, RHU, of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. She also asks her clients for their opinion of other professionals and their preferences for firms they want to engage with. For example, would they like a recognizable name in a large firm that comes at a premium cost, or do they prefer a more affordable option? In other words, “Do you want to pay for the marble?” Varas asks clients. “That should be their decision, and in asking, an advisor is respectful of their clients’ wants, needs and level of trust and comfort.”

Jeannine Resteiner-Citoli, a 20-year MDRT member from Bellevue, Washington, USA, works with many young, high-net-worth clients from the tech industry where there is less formality in the work environment. To mirror her clients’ level of formality — or informality — when dressing, she looks at the appointments coming in for the next day to determine what to wear.

“You need to be able to gauge and adapt over time with the client we’re sitting with,” said Robert J. Hack, a 15-year MDRT member from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

How a client dresses or their low-key approach is not always an indication of their income. “It can be harder to tell with the younger generation of high-net-worth individuals, especially if they have certain causes that they believe in, such as environmentalism or anti-consumerism,” said five-year MDRT member Joyce Chan, of Singapore. For example, she has a high-net-worth client who, despite having several rental properties, drives an average car and doesn’t wear expensive clothes.

Your clients’ style and preferences may not be tied to their income level. Instead, notice how your clients present themselves, so you can be more relatable to clients and adapt to their comfort level.

These ideas were from MDRT’s High-Net-Worth Acquisition Task Force.

Find more ideas for working with high-net-worth clients:

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