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How Do You Find C-Suite Clients?

August 4, 2016

“If only I knew who the really wealthy were, I could get close to them and ask them to be clients.” Many successful advisors have lots of connections but a lack of prospects with serious money. In my book “Captivating the Wealthy Investor” I make the case that senior executives at listed public companies represent high asset, high cash flow wealth. But how do you find them?

Many advisors make the mistake of not digging deep enough. Most major metro market business journals run an annual list of "top 25 public companies,” and for many advisors, the digging stops there. Often there are plenty more headquartered in your market.

You want the senior officers and directors – people high enough to be listed in the annual report. Expect to find an average of thirty per firm. For instance, San Diego – with only 62 publicly-listed firms after you eliminate penny stocks – should have over 1800 senior officers and directors, most living in the metro area.

Credit Risk Monitor is one of many places you can find this information. Their site includes a directory listing the 1,780 public companies headquartered in California. Researching the list lets you see the address and ticker symbol (if any) of each company. They sell data but offer a basic level on their homepage.

Now you have a list -- next you want the names of officers and directors. Reuters.com is one of many places where you can enter a ticker symbol and view a company profile including key individuals. Your firm likely has a similar tool on your desktop.

Another approach is to visit each company’s website and view the latest annual report. This approach has the advantage of including pictures of senior officers.

Now that you’ve got a list of names, it’s time to consider different strategies.

Manual Home Address Research: Many online telephone directory search websites will look for people within a 25-mile radius of that city. Although you might expect them to be unlisted, they likely have several phone numbers. You will be surprised at how many you will find, backing into their home address information. But this is tedious work.

Buy the Data: Dunn & Bradstreet offers their “Executives at Home Database” product. D&B figured someone would want this data. I imagine those senior executives weren’t thrilled. This costs money.

LinkedIn: Merely having the names leads to the LinkedIn stage. By entering each name and scanning for connections, you can determine “who knows who.” This identifies possible points of introduction. Although you might consider CEOs part of a tightly guarded world, they also have neighbors and children. There’s lots of potential for connections.

The Shortlist: Home address information is handy because you can assemble smaller lists based on specific streets or neighborhoods. Over time, show these 10- to 15-name lists to friends and clients living in the same place. They likely know some of them socially. You want an introduction.

It’s not that hard to identify people who are corporate celebrities. The data is out there. Now it’s up to you to efficiently use it.