confident businessman (Photo: Thinkstock)

Social prospecting is working for you. You attend the right events and drink in the right places. You’re getting in with a wealthy crowd. But there’s a problem. You feel like you don’t belong (and you think they know it.) How can you send out the right signals that you are wealthy and successful?

Don’t Get Discouraged

It’s easy to feel like you are on the outside looking in when everyone seems to have a great house, drives an exotic car, owns a boat, collects art, belongs to the right clubs and drinks expensive wine. Here’s the reality. You are looking at a group of people, taking the most obvious feature of each and assuming they have all the others, too. A few live in great houses. Some have exotic cars. One belongs to an exclusive club and another collects art. You will go broke (as would they) if you tried to do everything. You pick and choose.

How do people perceive you? People are often asked “What do you know about her?” People often sum up others with a short description. You need to get this working in your favor. Here’s an example: In the Britcom “Keeping Up Appearances,” Hyacinth, the lead character, often says “It’s my sister Violet. She’s the one with the Mercedes, swimming pool and room for a pony.”

5 Ways to Come Across as Rich — It’s All About Presenting Yourself

Now, let’s give those people some good material for creating your short description.

1. Always dress well. You don’t need to spend a fortune on designer clothing. Your wardrobe should be properly tailored (fit), clean and in good repair. This includes grooming. You dress well for running errands and shopping. In a lecture during the Fashion Week cruise on the Queen Mary 2, I heard a fashion magazine editor explain: “Always dress as if you are going to run into your high school rival.”

Why it works: Since ancient times, people with money and power have worn great clothing.

2. Accessories get noticed. Years ago, I read about a cocktail lounge in the Far East. The hostess took patrons by the arm, determining their seating by the quality of their watch! Many people have great brand awareness. They can spot a Rolex watch or a Montblanc pen across the room.

Why it works: Throughout history, jewelry has been considered a form of portable wealth.

3. Don’t be selling. Remember your dating days? There were some people who tried too hard. They came across as desperate. Desperate people don’t get dates. In social prospecting, the opposite of desperate is successful. They know what you do for a living. If you aren’t pushing business, they conclude you must be successful.

Why it works: Successful people want to do business with other successful people.

4. Treat absolutely everyone with respect. In Travel and Leisure magazine, a hotel doorman explained why some people are treated as “A listers” seemingly wherever they go. He explained it’s because they are nice to the staff. Treat everyone as equals, regardless of social standing. Use their names.

Why it works: Rich people don’t have anything to prove. Insecure people often try establishing a pecking order.

5. Always be upbeat. Always smile. Find positive things to talk about. Rich people have rich people problems (some you can help address). The general public thinks money buys happiness. Since they are well dressed and happy, they must be rich.

Why it works: People want to engage with upbeat people. No one seeks out a complainer.

5 More Ways — Competing in the ‘Toy Box’

The above points will carry you quite far. But what about the cars, wine and expensive lifestyle?

6. You need favorite restaurants. Let’s assume your home isn’t grand. You will want to entertain people outside your house. Rich people do it all the time. It’s said the grander the kitchen, the less it’s used. Pick a couple of affordable restaurants that punch above their weight. Become a regular. The staff know you and treat you like royalty. These are your default choices for dining out.

Why it works: Rich people expect the royal treatment. You are given it. Therefore, you must be rich.

7. Pick one competition category. It might be wine. You might own a ’67 Ford Mustang. You might belong to the most exclusive club. That’s seen as “your thing.” You are an expert because you are passionate.

Why it works: “Everyone says he has a great wine collection. He buys at auction.” Or “If you are looking for her, try her club. If she’s not at work, she’s always there.”

8. Choose a favorite champagne. It should be a big-name French brand. It’s your house champagne. It’s the hostess present you bring to other people’s houses. You order it in bars and restaurants. You bring it on picnics. People associate it with you. Now they are bringing you bottles!

Why it works: You are piggybacking on their branding. “Don’t bring him a bottle of the cheap stuff. He only drinks Moet.”

9. Own a nice car in perfect condition. Most cars depreciate. Models change. But some are iconic. On “Hart to Hart,” Jonathan and Jennifer drove a Mercedes SL Roadster, circa 1979 and 1981. You still see them on the road today. (The cars, not the Harts.) A late-model used BMW, Mercedes or Audi will probably look like your rich friends’ cars.

Why it works: Cars are often “a playing piece” like Monopoly tokens. Yours looks the part.

10. Get a country or shore house. This is expensive, but it gets you out of the “world travel” expenses. You spend weekends. You commute to work from there during the summer. You become a two-house family. Renting is another option, if you can get the same house year after year.

Why it works: Many rich people do the same. People never see the place, they just hear about it.

Coming across as rich isn’t as tough as it sounds. It isn’t cheap, but that’s a barrier to entry for many of your competitors.


Bryce SandersBryce 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.