The Rich are Selfish, and That is OK, Says Steve Siebold

5th Oct 2014

100 dollar bills


A financial advisor sent one of our salespeople a link to this article recently. It is an interview with Steve Siebold, author of the 2010 book How Rich People Think.

In this and other work (see image at right), he focuses on what he calls “world class” people, exploring why they succeed where others don’t. His conclusion: Highly successful people are mentally tough and selfish about on whom and what they spend their time and expend their energy. 

We agree with the advisor who sent us the link that Steve Siebold’s tone is too harsh: His hyperbole is designed to sell books, so he writes in a highly provocative way. But, when we strip out the overheated narrative, we find useful material to use to better understand the mindset of HNW and High-Income, Self-Employed (HISE) people.

  • They are more focused on success that others, and do “tune out” distractions that get in the way of their goals.
  • They have a much higher tolerance for risk.
  • They are comfortable with the idea that you take care of yourself and your family first.
  • They are quite passionate about their professional mission, and enjoy devoting a tremendous amount of time to it.

In short, Siebold declares that the rich get rich because they “selfishly” put their own needs first.

How can you use this information? First of all, it might explain why it’s so difficult to get the attention of this type of client  – whether they have already achieved their goals or are on their way – even if they are exactly the type of client that represents growth for your business.  If you read Siebold’s narrative and strip out the harsh positioning, you can extract ideas that sharpen your ability to adapt your conversational approach to reflect this client’s mindset about how to make and manage money.

Your services can free them up to focus more time on their mission. So, even as you try to counsel them, your mission remains supporting their mission.

We don’t necessarily agree with Siebold’s contention that HNW people are successfully transferring their success mindsets to their children, but you are also supporting their goal of transferring wealth to the next generation, so that part of Siebold’s analysis might also still have value in helping you to frame how you present wealth transfer strategies.

Let us know if you agree that multiple grains of truth are embedded in Siebold’s conclusions, notwithstanding the author’s harsh tone. Will you find this useful in working with HNW and HISE clients and prospects? How can you use this information to guide your conversational approach?

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