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Design Research

5 tips for recruiting high net worth participants

by Terika Seaborn-Brown
31st May 2018

As a rule, high net worth (HNW) individuals are hard to recruit...

They are hard to find because there aren’t many of them, hard to contact because they typically don’t sign up to be part of user research panels, hard to schedule because they are time-poor, and hard to incentivise because money isn’t a motivator for them.  

But fear not fellow UXers! I’ve trial-and-errored my way into a few key learnings that have helped me find and recruit this valuable participant pool:

1. Get buy-in from the relationship manager

Because they don’t sign up to user research panels, you will likely have to rely on your company/client’s relationship managers for initial access to HNW individuals. Relationship managers put a lot of time and energy into building and maintaining their relationships with their clients, and they are therefore extremely protective of them. In other words, they don’t want you to eff up their hard work.

Invite these relationship managers to a research session, ask them to review your emails and phone scripts before you send, let them listen in on a screening call. Show them that you will treat their clients with the utmost respect and professionalism. If you’re lucky, you’ll even get one of those lovely participants that reflect on how much they enjoyed and appreciated the opportunity to give feedback.

2. Show their opinion is of value to you

You wouldn’t even be reaching out to these participants if your company/client didn’t value them. Point out this fact! In your initial communications, explain that your role is to understand them and their needs,and the thing you are working on needs to work for them. All people, including those who are HNW, want to know that companies think about them and not just mine them for money.

3. Offer something more valuable than money

They don’t need the money, but how about: 

  • Charitable donation - Typically companies have a list of designated charities – let your HNW participant pick which one they’d like the money to go to.
  • Access to exclusive events – If your client/company hosts or sponsors interesting events, offer them a ticket, early access, or a special meet-and-greet with featured guests.
  • Roundtable with other HNW – Difficult to schedule, but roundtables offer HNW people the opportunity to connect with other HNW.
4. Ask for recommendations

Score for you, you got one HNW participant in the door – now ask them to recommend a friend! Birds of a feather flock together, so if you’ve managed to snag one HNW individual they can likely introduce you to others.

5. Keep them in the loop

Participants want to feel that they have skin in the game. Offer to keep them updated on the product, especially when it goes live. Remind them that they had a direct contribution to the end product. 

So that’s it, five tips to help you access HNW participants and get them interested. What else has worked for you? Let us know! 


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