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*A Book Review*

Selling to the Affluent

By Dr. Thomas J. Stanley

by Michael C. Gray

March 6, 2006

A significant U.S. population trend of interest to business persons is that the number of affluent households (whether measured as having a minimum household income of $100,000 or a net worth of $1 million or more) is far outpacing the growth of the household population. Dr. Thomas Stanley points out that, in the 20 years from 1970 to 1990, the number of households in the $100,000 or more annual income category has increased every year, in spite of downturns in the broader economy.

Why should business persons be interested in this trend? If you're dealing with the right market, it's much easier to make $1 million by making ten $100,000 sales (for a Mercedes dealer) than to make 10,000 $100 sales (for a grocery store).

Dr. Thomas Stanley has made extensive studies of the affluent. His most famous published book is The Millionaire Next Door.

In Selling to the Affluent, Dr. Stanley tells how sales and marketing people can become much more effective in locating and selling to affluent customers.

Dr. Stanley recommends having "deeper" instead of "wider" marketing efforts. Too many salespeople have "onesy, twosey" collections of customers. For example, a stockbroker might have one doctor, one lawyer, and one entrepreneur. Instead, the stockbroker should "specialize" in "pools" of a particular group, like anesthesiologists. Efforts can be directed to eliciting referrals, speaking at trade association meetings, visiting trade shows, and publishing articles and finding leads in trade magazines.

Dr. Stanley also points out that affluent people are often ready to buy when certain events happen or at certain times of the year. For example, fishing fleet owners are an "invisible" affluent group. They are flush with cash after fishing season, but cash poor just before fishing season. When an executive receives a promotion or publicity, the executive is ready to "celebrate" by buying a new car or home. Dr. Stanley explains how to know when affluent customers are likely to be ready to buy and how to approach them.

In order to be accepted by affluent customers, the salesperson or marketer must be seen as an "apostle" or advocate of the customer, not an antagonist. This really means putting the customer first, including satisfying the customer's self-esteem needs and other personal needs and wants instead of pushing another sale for a commission check to satisfy the salesperson's or marketer's needs.

Several affluent groups are profiled, and transcripts of sales conversations and interviews are given to show appropriate ways to talk to affluent customers.

Selling to the affluent can be very rewarding. I highly recommend that business persons, marketing professionals and sales professionals read, study and apply the ideas in Selling to the Affluent.

Buy it on Amazon: Selling to the Affluent.

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