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.

Here are some ways to help your soft sell when we get back to socializing, or even with potential clients.

Let’s assume life will get back to something close to normal again. We will meet new people at social events.
Seeking to develop initial relationships, we need to get conversations going. In social situations, you often have a dilemma. You want to get business into the conversation or learn about the other person, yet not come across as too aggressive.
Here are a few useful expressions. Some you know, others might be new.
(Related: 5 Ways Financial Advisors Miss New Business)

  1. That’s a fine firm.
    You don’t light your own candle by blowing out someone else’s. It’s easy to be cynical, making negative comments about other people or firms. No one wants to know someone because they are “less worse” than someone else.
    Many people admire a positive attitude. If someone tells you they work with a competitor, it’s a “fine firm” unless there are blaring newspaper headlines telling otherwise.
    “Fine firm” comes across as a compliment, letting them know they made a good choice. You have established common ground. Now, you can ask how long they’ve been with that firm.
  2. Where’s home?
    Conversations often start with “Where do you live?” Standard question. “Where’s home?” sounds much softer. Home is where the heart is. There’s no place like home.
    If a person seems resistant to opening up, volunteering your general neighborhood first and asking “Where’s home?” can ease them into opening up.
  3. It’s amazing the amount of work it takes to make something look effortless.
    You’ve seen those dance competition TV programs. You’ve seen the Olympics. People practice a long time to achieve perfection for a couple of minutes. Because they make it look so easy, many viewers might think anyone can do that.
    Investing is another learned skill. It’s been said that when the market goes up, everyone’s a genius. People don’t realize you work as hard for clients in an up market as a down one.
  4. Money talks. It says goodbye.
    We always find places to spend money. It burns a hole in our pocket. Paying by credit card adds to the problem because it makes money abstract. You aren’t aware of how much you’ve spent until your monthly credit card statement arrives.
    There are lots of ads on TV telling you how to spend money, few telling you to save it instead.
    This reinforces the rationale that you should pay yourself first and is why many people are behind in retirement savings.
  5. Let me make this easy for you.
    It’s a useful expression when you want a prospect to make a decision. They might have two choices: To buy or not buy. Option A or Option B. You could never say “Let me tell you what I want you to do.”
    “Let me make this easy for you” followed by your rationale is a softer way of saying the same thing. Who wouldn’t want things to be easy?
  6. It’s not as exciting as you think.
    I found this to be hilarious! We were on a cruise. Everyone at the table talks about what they do for a living. One woman said: “I’m a fine art dealer. It’s not as exciting…” It caught people off guard.
    The instinctive reaction is to take the other position: “No, it really does sound exciting. Tell me more.”
  7. My wife has the really interesting job.
    Couples often talk with other couples at events. Wrong as it is, sometimes women are invisible. Men talk with each other about what they do.
    One fellow had a great strategy. He would say “I’m a (profession). But you should really ask my wife that question. She’s the one with the really interesting job.”
    His wife was a financial advisor. He changed the focus of the conversation from him to her.
  8. You should talk with my husband.
    Lots of things happen at parties. There are still single-income wealthy households. The spouse is asked at a party, “What do you do?” They explain they manage the household but their spouse is a financial advisor.
    People often start talking about their investments. Why? Because here’s a person who understands the terminology but won’t try selling them something!
    The conversation often uncovers a situation that hasn’t worked out well. The spouse in this example had the perfect answer. “You should really talk to (other spouse’s name). They have helped other people with that problem.”
    It’s an ideal way for the spouse to position the advisor.
  9. Tell me more.
    This one has been around forever. People like to talk about themselves. You are drawing them out. “Why is that?” is another expression to keep them talking, providing you with information.

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