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above and beyond: how to work with an affluent clientle

Mar 1, 2008
I recently read a story about the Ritz Carlton Hotel that got me to thinking about how to really cater to and take care of a wealthy client, thereby keeping them interested and connected to you and your product or service.

It is the policy of the Ritz Carlton Hotel that any employee (ANY employee) can spend up to $2,000 without management's prior authorization, to solve the problem or need of a client of the hotel.

Here's the story: A business man was staying at the Ritz in Atlanta before heading out to Hawaii for a presentation (which he was to give). He was on the plane before he realized that he'd forgotten his laptop at in his hotel room in Atlanta. His entire presentation was on the laptop. He called the hotel from the plane and was routed to housekeeping who said that yes, they had found his laptop and asked what he would like them to do with it.

The man asked them to please send it by Federal Express with an early morning delivery so that he'd have it in time for his presentation.

The next morning when the man went to the front desk, there was a woman from Atlanta Ritz Carlton's housekeeping department waiting for him. She handed him his computer and said, 'This was too important.'

Now I ask you, will this man ever stay at another hotel in Atlanta? Probably not. And will he tell this story to his friends and colleagues? Absolutely. And his friends and colleagues will tell their friends and colleagues and this is how amazing publicity is created. An affluent clientle expects good service and superior quality, and yet, even this incident seems to go above and beyond expectations.

Of course, going the extra mile doesn't mean we have to spend $2,000 a day on our prospects and clients' concerns. It can mean a simple consideration -- a birthday card, a note, a phone call.

On a recent one-on-one call with one of my coaching club students (a financial adviser), she told me a story that perfectly illustrates this point. This student had a one year non-compete clause with her former workplace and it was about to expire. Throughout the year, however, she had maintained a connection with former clients by just sending out birthday cards. One day, one of her former clients called and said, "You know, my husband's financial adviser also sent a birthday card, but instead of addressing it to me, it was addressed to my husband, whose birthday isn't for seven more months."

Mistakes happen. But this was totally avoidable and costly for that other financial adviser.

Attention to detail, going above and beyond, simple pleasantries, even a kind word. . . all of these things not only make other people feel compelled to do business with you, but they make the recipient feel good. Funny thing is, they also have the added bonus of making the person giving them feel good.
About the Author
Kenrick Cleveland teaches strategies to earn the business of affluent prospects using persuasion. He runs public and private seminars and offers home study courses and coaching programs in persuasion strategies.
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