“No prophet is accepted in his own hometown.” This Biblicalquote has parallels in many cultures.

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You grew up in town and moved away. Now you are coming back.Perhaps you are stepping into the family business. How do you getaccepted and become part of the social fabric? How do you find prospects?

  1. Meet the neighbors – Don't wait for people toseek you out. Walk over and ring the bell. Your next step will beto invite them over for drinks or a BBQ. They will have known theprevious occupants and wonder about your backstory.

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    Shop locally – Groceries and housewares arecheaper at the big box stores. Focus your shopping on Main Streetinstead. You are showing your support for the town.

  2. High school – If you are from the town, youlikely attended high school here. The alumni or sportsconnection is usually very strong. They likely have reunions andbooster events. High school defines: “you are one of us.”

  3. Religious organization – Join yours and attendregularly. It aligns you with a group of local residents.

  4. Waving – Now you know some people. When yourcars approach each other, wave at the drivers you recognize. Theyshould wave back, an early sign of acceptance.

  5. Snow shoveling – Chores need to be done. If youare digging out your driveway, walk next door and start on yourneighbor's drive. This is a great help, especially if they areelderly. People see you helping neighbors.

  6. Coffee shops and luncheonettes – Pick one forbreakfast and another for lunch. Ideally, they are near youroffice. Go every day, greet people and chat with everyone.

  7. Supermarket – Town squares and communitycenters aren't the real place neighbors meet. You are likely to runinto plenty of people you know in the aisles of your localsupermarket. Dress well, avoid reading the scandal sheets at thecheckout and say hello to people you recognize.

  8. Bank locally – Even if your investments areheld elsewhere, open a personal checking account at the local bank.They are woven into the fabric of the local community.

  9. Volunteer for causes – The high profile oneswill become apparent. Sixty-nine percent of firefighters in theU.S. are volunteers. Your local fire company may be a big draw forlocal residents. Some ride on trucks, others flip pancakes or writechecks. Aligning yourself with some good causes shows you giveback.

  10. Know the industry – Unless it's a commutertown, something sustains your community. It might be farming or thebig auto plant. Understand the business and its relationship to thecommunity. It's a sign of respect.

  11. Family connections – In England, they saythings like, “My people have lived here for 300 years.” Ifyour family comes from the town, take advantage of localconnections. Your family name probably gets positiverecognition which will help in getting accepted.

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grocery store in a small town
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(Photo: Drew Horne / Shutterstock)

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Now for some don'ts

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It's easy to get ostracized. Tongues wag. Don't give themsomething to talk about.

  1. Don't take over – You join a community group.The cause is good but the leadership is stuck in the last century.Resist the urge to run the show. They may not be good eventplanners, but they are great at freezing out people they don'tlike.

  2. Don't resist the culture – If you move to theSouth, expect religion and country music to be part of the localfabric. Don't vocally denounce things that are important to otherpeople.

  3. Don't flaunt wealth – Old money whisperswealth. New money shouts it. People wonder what you are trying toprove.

  4. Don't look down on others – “We don't eat pigsfeet back East.” This implies you are better than others.

  5. Name drop – Mentioning the names of famouspeople you have met implies you travel in those circles whileothers don't. It's usually seen as another sign you won't fitin.

Small town life often involves “Going along to get along.”Embrace the culture with a generous spirit and you will be acceptedin your new (old) community.

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Related: 9 ways to reach clients in a bigcity

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Bryce Sanders

Bryce Sanders, president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc., has provided training for the financial services industry on high-net-worth client acquisition since 2001. He trains financial professionals on how to identify prospects within the wealthiest 2%-5% of their market, where to meet and socialize with them, how to talk with wealthy people and develop personal relationships, and how to transform wealthy friends into clients. Bryce spent 14 years with a major financial services firm as a successful financial advisor, two years as a district sales manager and four years as a home office manager. He developed personal relationships within the HNW community through his past involvement as a Trustee of the James A. Michener Art Museum, Board of Associates for the Bucks County Chapter of the Fox Chase Cancer Center, Board of Trustees for Stevens Institute of Technology and as a church lector. Bryce has been published in American City Business Journals, Barrons, InsuranceNewsNet, BenefitsPro, The Register, MDRT Round the Table, MDRT Blog, accountingweb.com, Advisorpedia and Horsesmouth.com. In Canada, his articles have appeared in Wealth Professional. He is the author of the book “Captivating the Wealthy Investor.”