Social networking is your key into high-net-worth circles. Although we are FaceTiming and Zooming with everyone during the pandemic, sometime soon we will step out of isolation and interact with people again. Some advisors find it hard to get people talking, especially when business is off the table. “Tell me about it” can be your salvation.

Advisors know how to draw prospects out when talking business. “I used to work with a financial advisor” can be followed with “Tell me more.” The same expression can be used if they say: “We want to send our daughter to Harvard.”

These expressions work because of an interesting quirk of human nature. The person talking is the one having a good time! People love telling stories. If they spend time with you, with them as the center of conversation, they usually conclude you are a great person! Why? You listened.

The Power of ‘Tell Me About It’

Your new expression is a vehicle to draw them out in a social setting. Another lesson I learned when growing up is: “Every time someone opens their mouth, they are giving you information.” Get enough and you can identify interests in common. This forms the basis for starting a personal relationship.

So how are you going to use your newfound “superpower?” Where does “Tell me about it” fit into the conversation?

  1. Jewelry. The woman across for you is wearing an interesting brooch. You admire it, mindful that at the high end of the range, antique diamond broaches can go for $500,000 to $1 million at auction. You comment: “That’s a beautiful brooch. Is it a family piece?” They explain: “No, I’m a collector. Bought it at auction recently.” You reply: “Tell me about it.” You stop talking.
  2. Watch. The man across from you has a very impressive watch. You remember reading somewhere that watches can be the most expensive manufactured item in the world, when calculated on a cost per square inch basis. You admire the watch. He explains it’s a Rolex Submariner. It belonged to his father. You vaguely recall seeing a 1961 Rolex Submariner for sale on the internet for $59,000. You’ve seen them at $35,000 and $10,000 too. You add: “Tell me about it.” You stop talking.
  3. Hat. If you watch period dramas on PBS or streaming services, one of the things many have in common is the characters wear great hats! Many people put a lot of thought into the hats they wear. Hats make a statement. Swaine Adeney Brigg, a London-based firm, supplied the original Indiana Jones hat from “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” These Herbert Johnson hats (the Poet) start at about $470. You comment on their distinctive hat. Where did they get it? They say: “There’s a story behind the hat,” You say: “Tell me about it.” You stop talking.
  4. Shoes. Women’s shoes can be spectacular as well as expensive. I recall the story of a financial planner who went with a friend on a weekend shopping trip to New York. The friend bought a pair of designer shoes, then asked her hotel to store the pair in their safe until she headed back home! People put a lot of thought into the shoes they wear to events. You remark: “Those are spectacular shoes!” They remark: “It took me forever to find the exact pair I wanted.” You reply: “Tell me about it.” You stop talking.
  5. Vacation. Travel is a universal subject. Wealthy people are always going or returning from somewhere. In conversation you learn the couple across from you has booked a seven-night transatlantic crossing on Cunard’s Queen Mary 2. You vaguely recall the Queens Grill suites can start around $5,000 per person, maybe more. You ask some questions: “Have they done a crossing before?” After they answer you follow with “Tell me about it.”
  6. The bargain. Although these examples point to expensive tastes, the wealthy love a bargain. They often know where to get the best price on something. Although they might not lead with “I got a great deal” it might come up later in conversation. They bought a new car. The parking valet just drove it away. You remark on its beauty. They mention they just got it. “I got a great deal!” You follow with: “Tell me about it.”

There’s an art to drawing people out. They will volunteer plenty of information if you take a sincere interest. People love to talk. You are starting to develop a relationship.

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