7 ways to name-drop without seeming rude

The wealthy people in your area often know each other. You would never violate client confidentiality, but you know plenty of people who aren’t clients but could benefit from your services. It’s a small world. The typical person may know hundreds of people, depending on their profession. If you and the other person know some of the same people, it makes the case that you are on the same social tier.

Name-dropping can have a negative connotation because it implies you are trying to inflate your status by rubbing shoulders with wealthy people. Yet, knowing some of the same people, if done properly, can speed up the establishment of social bonding.

  1. “I think we have a friend in common.” You want to meet someone important at an event. You don’t know them but someone you know does. You were hoping they were present so they could provide an introduction. Still, if they’re not there to provide the introduction, you can still walk over and introduce yourself. “You don’t know me, but I believe we have a friend in common.” They will likely ask who. You mention your friend. They confirm they know them and ask how you know them. You explain and ask them the same question. The conversation has started. You might think there are no common connections, but if you belong to the same religious organization, you both know the local leader. If you shop at the same wine store, you probably both know the owner.
  2. “I know him by reputation.” You can also say, “I know her, but not on a social level.” You recognize the name. They are high profile in the community. Unfortunately, you don’t attend the same parties or play tennis together. You can say complimentary things about them. This shows that, although you aren’t personally acquainted, you admire them.
  3. “We went to school together.” No one stays in touch with everyone in their class. There was a class above you and below you too. You remember names because they worked on the school paper or get in touch when they raise money from other alumni. You have established the “old school tie.”
  4. “I know them but haven’t seen them in years.” People pass in and out of our lives. I like keeping in touch with people through holiday cards or adding them as LinkedIn connections. This is an honest way of expressing you were connected once but haven’t been for years. There is no blame for not having kept up the connection. It could be neglect on either side.
  5. “Our children go to the same school.” You don’t know them directly, but you share an indirect bond. You are both parents involved with the same local school. You might see the person at weekend sporting events or while attending school plays. The children represent the common thread or bond.
  6. “We both work at the same firm (or ride the same commuter train together).” You don’t know them socially but know who each other is by sight. They are acquaintances. You have a “nodding relationship.” You acknowledge each other on the train platform or walking in the hall at the office.
  7. “He is a neighbor.” You don’t know all your neighbors on the same level, but you recognize them by sight and know their names. This communicates you both live in the same area. If they live in a wealthy, exclusive development, this communicates that you also do.

Why are connections important? Because it makes you less of a stranger. There is a common bond shared through an intermediary. They might call up the other person and tell them they met you at an event last night. “He told me you know each other. What do you know about him?”

If you live a good life, dress well and are kind to other people, they will probably give you a good endorsement. An ideal answer is, “He’s extremely detail oriented and ethical. If he says he will do something, consider it done.”

Knowing the same people can speed up the development of personal relationships and referrals.

Bryce Sanders is president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc. His book, “Captivating the Wealthy Investor,” is available on Amazon. 

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