The 3 Pillars for Building Relationships with High Net-Worth Investors

As any type of entrepreneur or real estate investor knows, relationships are one of the keys to scaling a business. With that being the case, how much time are you spending on sharpening your relationship building skills?


Jason Treu is an executive coach who specializes in teaching his clients how to strengthen their relationship building skills. Through his coaching, his clients have built relationships with industry titans such as Tim Cook, Bill Gates and Richard Branson. In our recent conversation, Jason provide his expert opinion on where to find high net-worth individuals and outlined his three pillars for building relationships with them.


Where to go?


Building relationships, like building a business, is all about strategy. You need to have a plan, which starts with knowing where to go to maximize your chances of meeting the high net-worth individuals or entrepreneurs who can help you along your real estate journey. Jason said, “I’ve found through a lot of research [that] some of the best people to meet are in charities and non-profit groups.”


Not only are these places where the attendees will have money, but they will also likely be altruistic. If it is a nonprofit or a charity, the whole premise is built around giving. “When you’re around people that have the mindset of giving and you build a relationship,” Jason said, “they’re much more open to helping you.”


Jason recommends Googling terms like “young professional,” “charity,” and “non-profit,” building a list of organizations and places in your local market and attending the ones that fit your interests the most. Go one or two times and determine if you like the people, the cause and spending time there. If the answer is yes, get more involved. If the answer is no, find somewhere else.


I can back up Jason’s advice with my personal experience. I’ve found that volunteering at local non-profits and charities is an effective, long-term approach to building relationships with high net-worth individuals. And I’ve raised millions of dollars through these relationships. You can read more about my specific strategy here.


Now that you know where to go, what are you supposed to do when you get there? How do you approach the conversations? Instead of winging it, follow Jason’s three pillars for successfully building relationships: 1) rapport, 2) likeability and 3) trust.


1 – Rapport


First, you need to build rapport. To build rapport, you need to focus on your non-verbal and verbal communication skills.


Strengthening your non-verbal skills – like body language – is time intensive, but well worth the effort. Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist, specializes in non-verbal communication. Here is her TedTalk, where she introduces her ideas. For a more in-depth explanation, Jason recommends reading her book “Presence.”


Effective verbal communication is all about asking the right questions. Whenever you’re meeting someone for the first time, instead of the standard “how are you doing,” Jason advises that you ask questions like “What’s the most exciting thing that’s going on in your life right now? What are you passionate about outside of work? What projects are you working on that you’re passionate about?”


Asking these types of questions will “connect them to their emotional side,” he said, “and we’re all emotionally-driven people.” Have them talk about the thing that they’re most interested in. Then, draw something from your experience or interests to find common ground. Jason said, “that person will instantly like you significantly more because you found some common ground and you’re discussing something that they want to discuss, not what you want to discuss.” At that point, the conversation will flourish naturally.


2 – Likeability


The second pillar is likeability. The easiest way to get the other person to like you isn’t rocket science. You just have to listen. “If you just look at someone and practice being present, and don’t worry about who else is walking behind them, around them, you’d be amazed at how the tenor of your conversations and interactions will change, because they can tell when you’re distracted in the back of their mind.”


This pillar is simple – when having conversations, act as if the person sitting or standing in front of you is the most important person in the world. Listen intently and then, following the advice in pillars 1 and 3, build rapport and trust from there.


3 – Trust


Finally, the third pillar for building relationships is trust. The key to building trust is by showing them that you care. The most effective way to show that you care is by adding value.


Jason said, “You add value in the conversation in ways by suggesting things like maybe there’s a book, maybe there’s a person you can introduce them to, maybe you can say ‘I may have some ideas, let me follow up’ and then follow up with some ideas. You can also introduce them to people at the event.”


One of Jason’s favorite ways to add value to others, which is specific to events or conferences, is quite unique – he introduces strangers to other strangers. He will start a conversation with a stranger and, after asking the questions outlined in the section on rapport, would then get the attention of another stranger nearby and say “Hey! You two should meet each other. I think you’d get along.” In doing so, next time he runs into either one of the strangers, they will introduce him to any one they know, or even other strangers. With this tactic, two relationships can turn into 10 or 20.


Another one of Jason’s favorite ways to add value is to invite a group of strangers out for a meal – again, this is specific to an event of conference, but it could also work at a charity or nonprofit event or meeting too. “[My] other option is inviting people to go and get together for brunch, for dinner, for lunch, and just inviting a bunch of people along, because everybody wants to meet new people.”


Even if nothing comes out of the actual meal (which is unlikely), by being the influential hub that brought all these people together, they will be more open to hearing your ideas and will likely return the favor by inviting you to other events. One of Jason’s friends used this tactic and met the nephew of Jerry Jones, the owner of the Dallas Cowboys. Now, he gets invited to a few Cowboy games each year and sits in the owner’s box!


What is your most effective tactic for building relationships? Where do you go and how to you approach conversations?


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