Chapter 11

Overcoming Affluent Sales Reluctance

The affluent are far more educated than the nonaffluent: 55 percent have completed graduate school vs. 12 percent of the nonaffluent.

—Factoid, 2013 APD Research

You can overcome the fear of moving upmarket and still find yourself reluctant to proactively sell your services in affluent circles. In fact, when selling to the affluent, nothing impedes success more than affluent sales reluctance. It’s the first cousin of fear, not as primal, but career hindering just the same. “I’m the mayor. I know everyone, and I rub shoulders with all the movers and shakers, but I feel awkward bringing up business with these people,” said Jerry during a break at one of our Art of Selling to the Affluent workshops. “I don’t want to come across as just another pushy salesperson. The mere thought of that makes me uncomfortable, but I know I’m leaving a lot of business on the table.”

You’d think that campaigning for mayor, much less winning the election, would have purged Jerry’s system of affluent sales reluctance, but it didn’t.

What Jerry learned was that campaigning for votes and selling services to upscale consumers are two very different ventures. First, although few affluent voters trust politicians, they usually adopt the view that “somebody has to be mayor, so I may as well vote for the lesser of two evils.” Second, most of the city’s voters are nonaffluent. Finally, in Jerry’s city, the mayor’s job is an unpaid, part-time position.

From Jerry’s ...

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