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Ask the right questions – Part 1

11 January 2022 Myra Knoesen

If you have spent enough time working as an adviser, Devin Rivera, Inbound Business Development Representative at Advicent says, then you have had at least one client whom you regret on boarding.

“The engineer who challenges every number you present. The Ph.D. who knows more than everyone, ignores all advice, and then blames you when he falls off track for retirement. The list goes on,” she says.

“On the other side, I hope that you have also had some dream clients. These clients’ expectations align perfectly with how you run your business, and you wish everyone would just “get it” the way that they do. How, then, can you avoid the former and build up more relationships like the latter?” she continues.

Ask better questions

One strategy, according to Rivera, is plain and simple: ask better questions. Ask the right questions during onboarding.

“Everyone has their own “get to know you” process for prospects. This is your opportunity to learn about their needs and to show the value you can bring to them. Any adviser worth her salt will at least ask basic questions about the client’s finances and financial goals. But consider the impact of asking a few more qualitative questions,” says Rivera.

For example, she says:

  • How do you envision the role of your financial adviser?
  • When it comes to your finances, do you like to delegate the work or would you prefer to be more “hands-on?"
  • When given an in-depth report, do you usually dig through the details or are you happier just reading the summary?

Step out ahead of the pack

If this client has met with other advisers, Rivera says you probably just stepped out ahead of the pack. “Just by asking these questions, you demonstrated that you view your clients as individuals and recognize their various needs. Plus, in the client’s responses you now have crucial insights on what your relationship might look like moving forward.”

If you do decide to on board this client, Rivera says you already know how best to work for, and communicate with, him or her. “You might even be working with a married couple. He prefers to delegate, but she always wants her finger on the pulse. If you know that from the beginning, you can bypass a lot of frustration for both you and your clients.”

“Now these clients have signed with you, and they want to talk about the future. Here is the part where asking the right qualitative questions will have a long term impact on your revenue. You have the chance to understand not only your clients’ goals, but their motivations. You can dig beyond just their financial picture to find out how they think about money,” she conctinues.

In part two of the article, we take a closer look the generational shift in the motivation behind long-term saving and what you really should ask.

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