Wealthy people always seem to be going somewhere. If they are in senior management, they are flying to places on expense account. If they have young children, they might be going to Disneyworld, possibly visiting the new Star Wars hotel, Galactic Cruiser. FYI: For two guests it’s $4,809 for the two-night experience. If they are retired, they might be spending three months or more on an around-the-world cruise. Regardless of your position in life, there is plenty to talk about.
Strategy #1: Where are they going next? Are they taking a winter vacation? Where to? Will their children or grandchildren be going along? Have they been there before? How did they choose this destination? People love talking about their travel plans.
Strategy #2: What are your travel plans? One legitimate reason to work this into conversation is you want your clients to know when you will be out of the office and who will be covering in your absence. Will you be able to check e-mails? Do not assume this as a given. Internet can be unreliable, especially on cruise ships or in remote areas. Do not do any bragging about how much your trip is costing. Clients might wonder if you are getting rich at their expense. Clients who like you want you to have a good time and enjoy yourself. You earned it.
Strategy #3: You have already visited the place they are heading. Now you have something to talk about! Have they ever been there before? If the answer is yes, you can talk about sights and restaurants familiar to you both. If this is their first time, you can pass along some site-specific travel tips. A few years ago, HSBC had an advertising campaign proclaiming “Nothing beats local knowledge.” Your client will be appreciative.
Strategy #4: You have never been to the place they are heading. You might always have wanted to visit. It’s on your bucket list. How did they choose that destination? What do they know about the hotel? What kind of activities are available? What do they plan to do with their time? People who enjoy travel like to share. They will feel they are adding to your knowledge.
Strategy #5: The charity auction. You are attending a gala event. They have some vacation packages in the live auction. (Many people should never be on The Price Is Right.) Ask your well-traveled HNW friend what they think of this package or that package. What do they think is a fair price? This is a popular casual conversation topic at events.
Strategy #6: You are considering a vacation and looking for ideas. Your well-traveled friends and clients can be sources of useful knowledge. We are considering a European river cruise. We have never taken one. Have you done one? What line did you sail? Would you recommend it? People love to share their experiences.
Strategy #7: You just returned from your vacation. People will ask how you liked it. I tend to be complimentary, hitting the high points. Do not go into too much detail because that can be boring. Less is more. They can always say: “Tell me more.” If you have photos on your iPad, keep it to under a dozen and under a minute. Share highlights, but don’t cross the line into boring territory.
Strategy #8: They are about to go away. Ask for the dates they will be departing and arriving. Do they know how to get cash from their account overseas? Does their firm debit card need to be put into travel mode? I always give our financial advisor our itinerary and how to reach us. You are anticipating their needs. That is usually appreciated.
Travel is a great topic of conversation with HNW individuals. Even if you don’t travel much, people like to share details of their travels.
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 is available on Amazon.