MT Expert's Ten Tops Tips: How to Nail the Luxury Market

You don't have to be posh to aim for the top of the market, says Francis Smith.

by Francis Smith
Last Updated: 03 Jun 2011
Last week’s publication of the Sunday Times Rich List showed that while the rest of us have to plump for below-inflation pay rises, the salaries of the super-rich are going one way: up.

Research shows there are 10m high net worth individuals worldwide, and according to a new Bain & Co and China Merchants Bank study, the number of Chinese millionaires and billionaires has nearly doubled in the last year alone. With all that money flying around, why not aim for the top?

MT asked Francis Smith how best to target the growing number of super rich.

1. Remember: they’re only human
They may collect information and make decisions like you and me, but they use different channels to source facts. They can afford to make mistakes, but they don’t like to, nor do they want to invest time in an exercise that is unlikely to deliver the benefits they expect.

2. They move in different places
They read different media, watch little commercial TV, absorb information from different sources. So to reach them, be where they are. Choose methods appropriate to your product and the impression you want to make. Catch them when they have time to consider you.

3. They look to trusted sources
The power of social is vital, but we don’t mean Facebook. They will have a trusted source of insight and opinion for their purchases. You need to identify who these people are.

4. The power of the family
When it comes to homes and holidays, it’s likely to be the spouse and sometimes the children who are making the decisions.

5. They make decisions rapidly and effectively
You won’t get much time to make an impression. Give them all the information they need, and no more.  You must be able to explain why they should consider you within the 30 sec ‘elevator pitch’.

6. They like to reward themselves
.... and those around them. It’s part of their badge of honour, the reason they work so hard and so smart.  So what would make a suitable reward? This is even more difficult to answer for the super rich as they’ve done almost everything there is to do.

7. They like to deal with like-minded people
We all want the sale staff to understand us. So too with the super rich. Only they are a difficult group to understand as they come from many different backgrounds and have incredible power and influence in business.

8. Money is rarely the issue
Well, that’s probably obvious – but these people know the value of their time. Remember too that everything is relative. Rolls-Royce realised this when it stopped advertising in car magazines, to focus on yachting titles instead.

9.Service is vital
Lamborghini in China suffered a public humiliation when an owner smashed up his six-month-old car in disgust at Lamborghini’s after-care and then put the video on the internet.

10. Satisfaction guaranteed
There is no room for error. And if things do go wrong, it’s vital to put things right first time. No questions asked.

Francis Smith is the head of data planning at communications agency CMW, who has worked for luxury brands including Porsche, Lotus, Darley (HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s global breeding operation) and Coutts.

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