plumber checking inventoryYou've had firsthand experience with many of these trades andprofessions and business owners. Have you thought of them and theirindustry as potential clients? (Photo: Shutterstsock)

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Things aren't always what they seem.  The people whoyou think have money might be living on credit. TomStanley wrote “The Millionaire Next Door,” a book published in 1996about the surprising findings that millionaires aredisproportionately clustered in middle-class and blue collarneighborhoods — yet many people still overlook businesses where theowners get their hands dirty.

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When you look for prospects, regardless if it's for anindividual's or business's account, it's smart to think about whereand how you spend your own money.  It's especially usefulto think about businesses you might overlook that are morehands-on. Let's consider four approaches:

Approach #1 – High-margin business owners

The first category might be “cash cows.”

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1.      Drycleaners.  Years ago, it was estimated the costto dry clean a garment was about 35 cents.  Let's assumeit's up to a dollar now.  What does your dry cleanercharge?  Tom Stanley, at the time he wrote his famousbook, said the dry cleaning industry had the largestconcentration of millionaires.

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2.     Jewelers.  OK, it's anecdotal, but I've heard themarkup in jewelry is about 400%.  Maybe it's an urbanlegend, but how else could they run 50% off sales and still makemoney?

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3.     Plumbers.  You've heard the joke.  Theplumber presents the bill, and the customersays,  “Wow!  That's more than I charge and I'm adoctor!  The plumber replies, “Neither did I when I was adoctor.  That's why I became a plumber.”

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4.     Auto body shops.  It seems you can't shop aroundfor price.  They work off computer programs, costing outparts, labor and repainting.  It's never cheap.

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5.     Florists.  You might not send flowers, butweddings and funerals probably make up a big part of theirbusiness.

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6.     People connected to real estate closings.  Titlecompanies, mortgage brokers and home inspectors are pretty muchrequired when purchasing a house.

Approach #2 – High-volume business owners

With this category, you might not spend a lot,but people are standing in line just to hand overmoney.

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1.      Carwashes.  In the summer they wash offdirt.  In the winter they wash off salt.  There'susually a line when you go.

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2.     Service stations.  You are buying gas. It's pretty much a commodity.  You searched out thecheapest price.  You need to stand in line to fill yourtank.

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3.     Liquor stores.  Regardless of the economy, storesselling liquor, beer and wine seem to always be busy. What does the government call the taxes they apply?  “Sintaxes.”

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4.     Laundromats.  Not everyone has a washer and dryerat home.  It's a business that seems to run on its own,although servicing the machines requires attention. There's often a wait for the machines.

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5.     Convenience stores.  Supermarkets may be pricecompetitive, convenience stores often aren't.  You arepaying a premium for getting sodas or snacks at an oddhour.  Let's not forget about cigarettes.  Yes,you stand in line here too.

Approach #3 – Housing-related high-margin business owners

Now let's look at beneficiaries of the economicclimate.  You live in the city, where high-rise apartmentsare going up.  You live in the suburbs, passing anothercornfield where someone spread house seeds.  When 60single-family detached homes spring up, 60 new homeowners need lotsof stuff.

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1.     Landscapers.  You want to personalize yourproperty.  Maybe you need an underground wateringsystem or a professionally planned garden. Often this isextra with a new house.

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2.     Fencing and pet containment.  You define theboundaries of your property.  You need a visible fence tokeep your children safe or an invisible one for your dog. Again,often an extra.

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3.     Lawn services.  The mantra in the landscapingbusiness is Design, Build, Maintain or DBM.  This is the“maintain” part.

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4.     Window treatments.  These usually don't come withthe house because everyone has their own style.  Spending$1,000 on a large window isn't unusual.

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5.     Tiling, carpeting and flooring.  Now we aretalking older homes with new owners.  It's anotherspecialty retailer category.

Approach # 4 – Trades-related high-margin business owners

You've had your own experiences with people who bill by thehour.  There might be a master craftsman taking on the joband writing the contract, but there are apprentices and otherworkers doing most of the work.  Are they billed at alower hourly rate?  Three obvious businesses fit into thiscategory:  Auto mechanics, plumbers and electricians.

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You've had firsthand experience with many of these trades andprofessions.  Have you thought of them and their industryas potential clients?  Maybe it's time you should.

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Bryce Sanders is president of PerceptiveBusiness Solutions Inc. He provides HNW client acquisition trainingfor the financial services industry. His book, “Captivating the Wealthy Investor” can be foundon Amazon.

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READ MORE:

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For your next prospecting meeting, forget thebinder

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10 commandments of prospecting for insuranceagents

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5 steps to holiday prospecting

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Bryce Sanders

Bryce Sanders, president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc., has provided training for the financial services industry on high-net-worth client acquisition since 2001. He trains financial professionals on how to identify prospects within the wealthiest 2%-5% of their market, where to meet and socialize with them, how to talk with wealthy people and develop personal relationships, and how to transform wealthy friends into clients. Bryce spent 14 years with a major financial services firm as a successful financial advisor, two years as a district sales manager and four years as a home office manager. He developed personal relationships within the HNW community through his past involvement as a Trustee of the James A. Michener Art Museum, Board of Associates for the Bucks County Chapter of the Fox Chase Cancer Center, Board of Trustees for Stevens Institute of Technology and as a church lector. Bryce has been published in American City Business Journals, Barrons, InsuranceNewsNet, BenefitsPro, The Register, MDRT Round the Table, MDRT Blog, accountingweb.com, Advisorpedia and Horsesmouth.com. In Canada, his articles have appeared in Wealth Professional. He is the author of the book “Captivating the Wealthy Investor.”