Selling to The New Elite

Discover the Secret to Winning Over Your Wealthiest Prospects

 Selling to The New Elite

Authors: James Taylor, Stephen Kraus, Doug Harrison
Pub Date: February 2011
Print Edition: $21.95
Print ISBN: 9780814434772
Page Count: 272
Format: Paper or Softback
e-Book ISBN: 9780814416549

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How to Leverage Passion to Sell to Today’s Value-Conscious Wealthy Consumers

Due to the recession, Americans with money to spare—at least $100,000 in annual discretionary income—have become resourceful spenders. That’s what Jim Taylor, Stephen Kraus, and Doug Harrison have found through their annual market research report, Survey of Affluence and Wealth in America in conjunction with American Express Publishing, as well as through their consulting work with clients such as Mercedes, Cartier, and many others in luxury markets. Still, high-end sales can be highly profitable. “The affluent continue to shop,” notes Taylor, “in categories they are passionate about.” In their new book, SELLING TO THE NEW ELITE: Discover the Secret to Winning Over Your Wealthiest Prospects (AMACOM 2011), Taylor, Kraus, and Harrison offer techniques to help salespeople tap into the power of passion to close more sales:

* Express the love of your job. Since most wealthy customers built their fortune through the pursuit of a passion and hard work, declaring a sincere passion for your job eases that unspoken and potentially disruptive class divide. It can be a powerful rapport builder. Exercise: Practice telling stories that describe your most satisfying interactions with customers and illustrate your sincere interest in the products or services you sell.

* Discover a shared pursuit. There’s no denying the phenomenon: people like to work with people who are similar to themselves. In today’s world of diversity, demographics and innate traits hold much less sway than they did four decades ago. What brings the greatest bond is a common, chosen passion. Exercise: Observe and listen closely to your customers to discern their interests. Notice what they wear, what they drive, and what they say about their family.

* Give the docent’s tour. Museum docents are masters at educating people on subtle points of differentiation—the details that separate the merely good from true masterworks. When it comes to selling luxury, those who do it best are equal parts salesperson and docent. Exercise: Visit a museum and take a docent’s tour. Then, revisit how you sell. How would a docent present—in an objective, engaging, story-based way—the very best of your brand?

* Use the language of passion. Research shows that today’s wealthy tend to be turned off by flowery language, anything that conveys faux sophistication. Avoid words like entitlement, world-class, facilitate, and optimize. Instead, embrace the language of character. Words like mission, guts, vision, and grow speak volumes to financially successful people with a clear preference for active verbs, straightforward nouns, and results-oriented terminology. Exercise: Evaluate the words you use in your elevator pitch, your sales scripts, and on your Web site. Are you using the simplest, most powerful language to engage your customers?

* Ask passion-based questions. Artfully designing questions to elicit a specific customer response can be counter-productive. Instead, simply ask questions like a true enthusiast. When you let down your guard and share your passion for what you are selling with a prospective buyer, your questions will nearly always generate an authentic positive response. Exercise: Trust your passion and craft questions you can use to deepen your interactions with customers. Who can resist questions such as: Do you want to see something cool? or You know what first excited me about this business?

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