“Oh, I so want to meet him!”
You are attending a community event. You see a high-profile person across the room. They look just like their annual report photo! You realize this might be your only opportunity to meet them. Your hands get clammy. You feel like you are back at a high school dance. What do you do?
You’ve got a few things going in your favor. You had an idea who might attend tonight’s event. You recognized their face, so you know a little about them. You have your smartphone available. Ducking into the restroom, you checkout their LinkedIn profile. You check for news about their company. Did they recently release earnings? Have they been quoted in the media? You rejoin the party.
Mingling and networking with high-net-worth individuals is similar to dating. The upside is you are familiar with different approaches.
1. Get an introduction. Looking around the room, you spot a friend. They are a board member at this charity. You ask if they know the person you want to meet. They say yes. Known her for years. You ask for an introduction. They walk you over, inserting themselves in a pause in the conversation. They introduce you, highlighting a few interests in common. “You both live downtown, play tennis and enjoy Mexican food. I’m sure you will have lots to talk about.” They depart.
2. The friend in common. Uh oh. Your board member friend isn’t there! What now? You play the “friend in common” card. Walking up, you start the conversation with “Mr. X, my name is (you). You don’t know me, but I believe we have a friend in common.” You stop talking. Logically, they ask the name of this friend. You mention it. They confirm knowing them. They ask “What’s your connection?” to the friend. After answering, you ask how they know your friend. The bridge is in place. It’s almost as if your friend was really there, making the introduction.
3. The compliment. The first two represent “Nice work, if you can get it.” In reality, you are on your own. You don’t travel in CEO circles. You aren’t in panel discussions on financial news shows. You are a regular guy. Well, you are a regular guy who did some research. His company just declared earnings, exceeding Wall Street’s expectations. Once again, you walk up and introduce yourself. “You don’t know me…” In this example you say: “I just wanted to congratulate you on the excellent earnings (company name) reported after the close. That was impressive.” Stop talking. They will probably thank you, talk about having a good quarter and mentioning a division that did exceptionally well. You’ve gotten the conversation started. How? Because it’s very difficult to be offended by a compliment.
Meeting high-profile people you don’t know isn’t as difficult as it seems. It’s a lot like dating.
— More by Bryce Sanders:
- How to Get a Face-to-Face Appointment
- The Ten Commandments of Prospecting
- Using Wine to Get Your Point Across to Wealthy Prospects
Bryce Sanders is president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc. He provides HNW client acquisition training for the financial services industry. His book, “Captivating the Wealthy Investor,” can be found on Amazon.