man with private jet Your friendmight be embarrassed to talk about money because they think youbelieve they are far wealthier and more successful than they reallyare. (Photo: Shutterstock)

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Insurance is not an easy productto buy. Neither are investments. At the supermarket, if you go tothe dairy case and randomly choose a carton of milk, not much cango wrong. My friends invest. If they don't, they should. Why don'tthey ask me for help? What's holding them back?

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It's the fear of talking aboutmoney, right?

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Years ago, when phones had cordsand TVs had three major channels, children were taught it'simpolite to talk about money. It was considered rude andintrusive. Your personal finances were private. Some people stillthink talking or asking about money is like walking into a lockerroom full of naked people and starting a conversation. It'sawkward.

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Related: How to become the "go-to" agent or advisor (and nota pariah)

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This has changed. Maybe itstarted in 1984 when Robin Leach's TV show, "Lifestyles of the Richand Famous" started running. The cable financial channel CNBC wasestablished in 1989. Jump forward to 2006. Real Housewives ofOrange County was the first of many reality shows in thefranchise.

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Over a 35-year period, talkingabout money moved from "a private matter" to a spectator sport.Today, everyone talks about money or investments.

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Yes, there is a fear of talkingabout money. Most people don't think they have enough of it! Manydon't save. They might look at their total earnings when doingtheir taxes and wonder "Where did it all go?"

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Your friend might be embarrassedto talk about money because they think you believe they are farwealthier and more successful than they really are. That Hermes bagand Louis Vuitton purse projects an excellent image!

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More about this problemlater.

10 reasons your friends aren't knocking on yourdoor

Years ago, I surveyed advisors(and interviewed HNW individuals) to learn how they interacted. Itsounds simple enough on the surface. Investing is complicated. Sois buying insurance. Lots of ads on TV tell you to cut out themiddleman and deal direct. Your friends don't cut their own hair orrepresent themselves in court. They don't change their own oileither. They know professional help has a value. You are aprofessional. Why aren't they coming to you?

Reason #1: Confidentiality

Can you keep their secrets? Manybusinesses proudly talk about their clients. The coffee shop hasphotos of celebrity customers. Weight loss ads on TV have peopletalking about their experiences. Luxury goods firms havespokespeople. Your friends think you freely drop client names toget more clients. They don't know you are bound byconfidentiality.

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What they say: "I don'twant friends knowing my business. You know how it is. People talk.I prefer doing business with a total stranger."

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Try this: You have historywith your friends. Use this to your advantage. "We are bound byconfidentiality. You aren't held to the same rule. I'm not allowedto tell anyone you are my client. You can tell as many people asyou like." (There are the legal exceptions, of course.)

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Or try this: "We know lotsof the same people. Some might even be clients. We've known eachother five years. If I haven't mentioned a client's name over thattime, I'm unlikely to start now."

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Tip: If you mentionconfidentiality, "similar to doctors and lawyers" it puts you ingood company.

Reason # 2: They don't really know what you do

We put people into little boxes."She's a lawyer." We think all attorneys are personal injurylawyers advertising on TV or lawyers presenting in criminal trials.In reality, there are probably 100+ branches of the law. Nowconsider your own situation. You work for an insurance company.Therefore, you are an agent who sells insurance. You do lots more,but you have been assigned to your little box. They don't know thefull extent of how you help people.

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What they say: "You're aninsurance agent. I don't need any right now."

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Try this: Find a time whenthey are free. Maybe it's while waiting to pick up your childrenafter school. Take an interest in what they do. "We've known eachother three years. I know you work at Murky Research. You dosomething with product testing. I've always wondered: 'What is itthat you do?" They will tell their story. You will learn newthings. They will likely return the favor.

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Or try this: Suppose theydon't ask what you do? Try this strategy that's been around atleast a decade. "You know I work at Galactic Insurance. When youtell your friends about me, what do you say that I do?"

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Tip: In most instances,"the little box" comes out. "You sell insurance." Build on theirresponse. "That's part of what I do…"

Reason # 3: Risk to the friendship

This is also the worry: "Can youdeliver?" Their fear is become a client will end badly. Maybe evenwith a lawsuit. They have now lost both money and afriend.

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What they say: "You can'tfire friends."

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Try this: "If you becomemy client, you should get a report card. If I'm doing a lousy job,you should be able to fire me." The periodic portfolio reviews arethe report cards. Their anxiety is lessened because they wanted away to unwind the relationship. You provided a roadmap.

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Or try this: Address thesituation in the third person. "You may know some people I might beable to help. Let's spend a few minutes talking about what Ido…"

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Tip: If you had somethingthey really wanted, they would "play the friend card," insistingyou give them preferred access because of your sharedhistory.

Reason # 4: Have they been asked to be clients?

We subconsciously take people"off the list." He's between jobs. She just lost her spouse. Theymight need your help, but you are keeping your distance.

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What they say: Nothing.You never asked. If it's a relative, they assume you don't dobusiness with family. Therefore, they never stepforward.

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Try this: "I realize youare going through a difficult time. I don't want to intrude. Ithink you know my specialty is insurance. If you have any questionsor want something explained, I'm here to help."

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Or try this: "Yourfriendship is important to me. That's why I haven't talked aboutbusiness. I've assumed you work with someone already. They probablytake great care of you and give you great service…"

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Tip: This is another opportunity to use the "thirdparty" approach described in Reason # 3.

Reason #5: Do they know you are still addingclients?

If you talk about how busy youare and your lack of sales support, friends may assume you have allthe clients you can handle. Asking for help would be an imposition.Friends don't impose. Also, they may think the firm, assigns youclients.

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What they say: "Soundslike you've got your hands full." or "The company gives youclients, right?"

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Try this: When they ask"How's business, share an anonymous story about taking on a newclient, mentioning it was someone introduced by a current client ora friend from college.

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Or try this: As above, buttell how you helped someone by stopping them before they made astupid mistake.

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Tip: Don't talk aboutsales targets or how you need to bring in a certain number of newclients to hit your numbers.

Reason #6: What's your minimum?

This gets into the reluctance totalk about money mentioned at the start of the article. As anadvisor or agent, you talk about "High Net Worth" and "wealthy"people. That always sounds like: "More money than you've got." Noone wants to be told they are too small.

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What they say: "I know youwork with much wealthier people…"

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Try this: For investing,talk about your client base in terms of a range. "I have 200clients with about $100 million is assets. The smallest are$100,000 relationships, the largest $ 5 million. The average isabout $ 500,000. Your friends can determine if they fit into therange.

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Or try this: "Our firmhelps many people. For clients with assets under X, we have (thisservice.) For clients with XX – XXX in assets, they work withsomeone like me. For clients with XXXX or more, we have a specialarea…"

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Tip: You want to beinclusive, not exclusive.

Reason #7: Do they have money now?

The chances the person on theother end of the phone has money available immediately are quitesmall. Usually something needs to happen. Sale of a business.Arrival of their bonus. House sale.

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What they say: "This isn'tthe right time."

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Try this: "I realize thatnow. I wanted to get on your radar. When is the right time to talk?What needs to happen?"

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Or try this: "Youmentioned Treasury bonds earlier. When does the next one come due?That might be a good time to talk."

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Tip: Call a couple ofweeks in advance.

Reason #8: The experience question

If you are new, they might benervous. They don't want you practicing with their money. You werea great engineer, but what do you know about insurance?

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What they say: "Remindme…How long have you been doing this?"

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Try this: Position yourrole as a relationship manager, bringing the resources of the firminto their living room.

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Or try this: Sell thefirm. If you are on a team, sell the team. You have people withadditional knowledge and expertise behind you.

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Tip: Mention yourlicenses. These are a form of professionalcertification.

Reason #9: They already work with someone else

Most people you want as clientsare someone else's client already. They might not be doing a badjob. They don't want to unwind the other relationship. They want toavoid confrontation.

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What they say: "I alreadyhave an advisor. If only we met five years earlier…"

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Try this: "Successfulpeople often have multiple advisors. You're obviously successful.How many do you have?"

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Or try this: "I'm sure youare happy with your current advisor. Here's my card. Please let meknow if anything changes."

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Tip: Try to at leastestablish yourself as the alternative.

Reason # 10: How did you get the idea I liked you?

You know people you tolerate butdon't like. Sometimes in-laws fit into this category. They mightgrudgingly become clients, but are just waiting for something to gowrong…

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What they say: "Youmarried my sister, so I guess I've got to do business withyou."

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Try this: Run the otherway. There's limited upside and bottomless downside.

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Or try this: If you feelyou must do business, pick products with few moving parts thatperform as advertised. Treasury Bills held to maturity are a goodexample.

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Tip: Ever hear theexpression "More trouble than it's worth?" Someone else can helpthem.

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We've looked at many reasonsfriends hesitate doing business with other friends. Most can beturned around. One cannot.

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Bryce Sanders is president ofPerceptive Business Solutions Inc. He provides HNW clientacquisition training for the financial services industry. His book,"Captivating the Wealthy Investor" can be foundon Amazon.

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Bryce Sanders

Bryce Sanders, president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc., has provided training for the financial services industry on high-net-worth client acquisition since 2001. He trains financial professionals on how to identify prospects within the wealthiest 2%-5% of their market, where to meet and socialize with them, how to talk with wealthy people and develop personal relationships, and how to transform wealthy friends into clients. Bryce spent 14 years with a major financial services firm as a successful financial advisor, two years as a district sales manager and four years as a home office manager. He developed personal relationships within the HNW community through his past involvement as a Trustee of the James A. Michener Art Museum, Board of Associates for the Bucks County Chapter of the Fox Chase Cancer Center, Board of Trustees for Stevens Institute of Technology and as a church lector. Bryce has been published in American City Business Journals, Barrons, InsuranceNewsNet, BenefitsPro, The Register, MDRT Round the Table, MDRT Blog, accountingweb.com, Advisorpedia and Horsesmouth.com. In Canada, his articles have appeared in Wealth Professional. He is the author of the book “Captivating the Wealthy Investor.”