How rich prospects test you socially

By Bryce Sanders | June 24, 2013 | Last updated on September 21, 2023
3 min read

You socialize with high-calibre members of your local community, and you think you’re a short step away from adding them to your book. What could go wrong?

Read: How to stake out prospects

A lot. They know where you work and what you do. When they need financial services they have the luxury of choosing from multiple providers. How do they narrow the field, especially when people close to them are in the business? Often by using informal tests.

Follow Through

Do what you say you’re going to do, even if it seems minor.

Scenario: On Tuesday you chat with a fellow gourmet you met at a reception. You learn what he enjoys and mention a local store where the selection is vast and the prices low. “I’ll take you there – let’s go on Saturday.”

Outcome: Saturday comes and goes – you forgot. He calls Monday: “I thought we were going out on Saturday. You never called or showed. I spent the day at home waiting. What happened?” You explain you forgot and that it’ll never happen again.

Test Result: Fail. He assumes the failure to follow up you demonstrate in your personal life is indicative of how you run your business.


Don’t tell tales. As the saying goes, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.”

Scenario: You’re at a party, in the middle of a group of chatty people. They like you. Afterwards, one of them tells you something revealing about a person in the group that just dispersed. You now know a flaw about someone rich and famous, so you feel like an insider.

Outcome: You tell your friends because you’re proud of the social progress you’ve achieved. They talk, and it gets back to the person who told you.

Test Result: Fail. You’re the only person he told, so if it got around, you must be the source. He concludes confidentiality isn’t your strong suit, ruining your chances of making him a client.

Read: Nine ways to generate new clients

Restaurants and Dining Out

It’s a minefield with many dangers.

Scenario: You and your spouse go to dinner with another couple. You were careful to order items in about the same price range as the others.

Outcome (1): They reach for the check and offer to pay. You don’t argue, insist on splitting or offer to leave the tip. You smile and say, “Great, thank you.” You dine out a few more times as their guests, never insisting on paying.

Test Result (1): Fail. You aren’t seen as a peer. Worse, they may consider you a freeloader.

Outcome (2): You split the check in cash and each leave a tip. Your tip is half the expected amount.

Test Result (2): Fail. You’re being cheap at a restaurant where the wait staff knows and respects them. If you go back and take some of your tip off the table the other couple will drop you even faster.

Criticizing Family Members

People who are related often have fun at the expense of each other. You cannot.

Scenario: You’re talking with a person you recently met at a party. He mentions a negative characteristic about his sister, perhaps her terrible taste in spouses. She’s been married four times.

Outcome: At some point in the future you’re talking with the same fellow. His sister comes up again. You share your opinion that she has terrible taste in spouses.

Test Result: Fail. There’s an unwritten rule: family members are allowed to be critical of each other; people outside the family aren’t. When criticizing one member you are disrespecting the entire family.

Read: Private clubs and social prospecting

Bryce Sanders

Bryce Sanders is President of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc. in New Hope, PA. His book “Captivating the Wealthy Investor” is available on