So far, so good. You joined the right organizations and attend the right events. After reading “10 Ways to Appear Wealthy,” you dress and act the part. It’s time to make conversation. You might think the wealthy tell each other how much money they have or how they are spending it. They don’t. What do they talk about? How can you join the conversation?
Unless you rub shoulders with royalty, most successful people in your orbit grew up and live rather normal lives. Many business owners are self-made. The subjects they talk about should come as no surprise.
1. Success at work. They get asked “How’s business?” too! They will talk about how their new venture in Asia is doing, a new product’s entry into the marketplace of the last quarter’s great earnings.
You: “I read about the great earnings you just posted. Congratulations for turning in a good result in a challenging environment.”
2. Real estate prices. Doesn’t everyone? They think prices have gotten ahead of themselves, while they are secretly thrilled their house increases in value while they sleep.
You: “Pricy Home” magazine just rated us as one of the fastest growing real estate markets in the country. Did you see the article?”
3. Sports. Everyone has a favorite team.
You: “Did you see the game last night? That was a cliffhanger.”
4. Restaurants. Many busy people don’t cook at home. They eat out. They are interested in new places.
You: “We just tried that new Italian place opposite city hall. It was quite good. Have you been there yet?”
5. Travel. People with money often take great vacations. They like talking about it.
You: “Are you and the family getting away this summer?”
6. Charitable giving. Established wealthy families consider it an obligation to give back to society. They write checks, serve on boards and attend events like the on you are at now.
You: “Besides the museum, what other non-profits are you involved in?”
7. Investments. OK, they might talk about stocks. More likely, they talk about private ventures, like a new restaurant where they are part owner.
You: “Your new restaurant sounds great. We don’t have a good regional Italian place around here. How do you find a chef for a specific cuisine like that?”
8. Hobbies. When you have money, hobbies become passions. Collectors often like to talk about their passion with fellow collectors or people with a sincere interest in learning.
You: I admire fine craftsmanship. My watch is a Rolex. Something I’ve wondered: ‘What makes certain watch brands collectible?”
9. Private placements. Guess what? These guys buy into each other’s ventures. If a new bank is starting up, they even serve on each other’s boards.
You: “Jack’s bank just got bought out by Regional Behemoth. From what I heard, the initial investors did pretty well.”
10. Charity events. The movers and shakers usually do the circuit.
You: “We went to the Nature Conservancy’s gala last week. The food was excellent. I hear they used a new caterer.”
11. Weekend plans. They go to Costco and do projects around the house, too.
You: “It’s supposed to be a beautiful weekend. I’ll be spending much of it getting the garden into shape. What are your plans?”
12. Health. Rich or not, when you get older, doctors are a major conversation topic.
You: “Good seeing you again. Did the cataract surgery work out OK?”
13. Local news. If they are movers and shakers, they not only read the local news, they make it.
You: “I read the planning commission gave that new industrial park the go ahead. That’s good news for the local tax base.”
14. Politics. This is a minefield best avoided. Many people are polarized. Talking about your local representative is your safest option.
You: “Our congressman just held a town hall. This was the first I’ve ever attended. Have you been to one?”
15. Family. Everyone is proud of their children and their accomplishments.
You: “Congratulations on your daughter’s acceptance to Harvard. You must be very proud.”
Many of these conversations might seem like “no brainers.” Wealthy people aren’t a breed apart. They are people with normal lives and interests, just like you and me.
— Related on ThinkAdvisor:
- How Advisors Can Avoid Getting Stuck With Dinner Checks
- What Should Advisors Do Before Going on Vacation?
- How to Meet a High-Profile Stranger
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.