What “True Lies” Teaches Us About HNW Networking

Are you one of the approximately 2.5 million viewers watching the CBS Wednesday night series, True Lies? The plot centers around Harry “Howey” Tasker, a computer salesperson who is also a secret agent for Omega Sector, which uses his computer firm as a cover for their operations. His wife hasn’t been aware of his double life until she discovers it while they are on vacation in the pilot episode. What does this have to do with meeting wealthy people at community events?

In “Friendly enemies,” episode 10, aired of May 3rd, the couple must travel to Panama, meet another couple and persuade them to join them in their mission. Put another way, they have 48 hours to cozy up to them and develop a friendship. Compared to that timeline, the goal of a financial advisor making friends in the HNW community over time seems pretty easy.

What did Howey and his wife Helen do? They entered the other couple’s hotel room through the window, downloaded computer files, but also took note of photos of their children, the type of expensive rum they drink, the designer labels on the wife’s clothing and other personal details. They leave the way they entered.

When the Howie and Helen enter the hotel lounge, they see the other couple sitting at the bar. Harry orders the same rum they like, mispronouncing the name. This gets the husband in the other couple to correct him. Harry orders four rums for everyone. Helen comments on the woman’s designer dress. Before you know it, they are at a table having drinks and talking about their children.

What Howey and Helen Taught Us About Connecting with the HNW at Events?

Let us assume you and your partner are involved in the community and attending a museum opening, garden party or fundraising gala. How will you connect?

  1. Do your homework. Fortunately, you do not need to break into hotel rooms. If you have an idea who will be attending the event, do some online research ahead of time. Their LinkedIn profile should tell you a lot. Even if you are not 1st level connections, you can see your 2nd level connections, who you know in common. Where did they go to school? Do they have hobbies?

  2. Dress well. Since Howey and Helen are always traveling in HNW circles, they wear great clothing. Most of the time it is similar to what a successful financial advisor would wear. People often make initial decisions based on appearance and grooming. Get this working in your favor.

  3. Be confident. Howey and Helen are often in situations with a tight timeline or facing unexpected events beyond their control. They are always positive. In HNW settings, they always act as if they belong. In an earlier episode, they enter an elegant hotel and Howey tips the car valet 100 Euro. They walk up to the bar and order two drinks. He hands the bartender 100 Euro. Helen remarks “So this is what it’s like to be wealthy. Everything costs 100 Euro!” Confidence announces you belong.

  4. Stand by the artwork. Maybe you choose the silent auction tables at the event or the bar. Eventually the person you are seeking should move in your direction. If not, you can head over to them.

  5. Find something to comment on. If you are standing by the artwork, ask :”What is your favorite painting in the show?” Commenting on the designer dress worked for Helen. You can identify a Hermes scarf or Chanel purse when you see one. Who would be offended by a compliment recognizing their good taste?

  6. Ask the polite questions. When you meet someone for the first time, you exchange the usual icebreaker questions and answers. These are usually “Where do you live” and “What do you do?” In the episode, Howey and Helen were diplomats, as were the other couple. No one admits there were spies.

  7. Find the shared interest. Unlike strangers seated together on a plane, you have done some homework. You know about their interests and hobbies. You can steer the conversation in that direction.

  8. Find a level to connect. Howey and Helen were laughing over drinks and having a good time. People don’t like to have forced conversations that seem scripted. Everyone likes spontaneity. The person talking is the one having a good time. Give them a reason to like you.

  9. Setup the next connection. We depart from Howey and Helen at this point because armed soldiers came in from all directions to arrest the four of them as spies. Thankfully, that is unlikely to happen to you at your museum reception or SPCA gala. Utilize the shared interests to make the case we should exchange contact information and get together another time. This is easier if the organization is a country club or society with a membership directory.

It does not require special skills to make friends within the HNW community. You need to dress well, be confident, prepare beforehand and think on your feet. It worked for Howey and Helen.

Related: How To Get Valuable Clues From Social Conversations