Ask the right questions – Part 2

11 January 2022 Myra Knoesen

“The Merrill Edge Report highlights a generational shift in the motivation behind long term saving. Traditionally, most people have saved with the goal being retirement – leaving the workforce. Most Millennials, by contrast, have their sights set on being able to fund a certain lifestyle. This shift in mindset might be the reason that Millennials are, on average, saving a greater percentage of their income than the generations before them,” emphasised Devin Rivera, Inbound Business Development Representative at Advicent.

She says try some questions like these:

  • How would you describe your relationship with money?
  • How do you picture your retirement?
  • What does financial freedom mean to you?
  • What are your biggest priorities right now?

Consider what you really want to ask

“This is why investors will continue to seek out financial advisers, even with the prevalence of low-cost robo advice. A good adviser understands more than just the numbers game. If you ask these qualitative questions and really seek to know your clients, you will have the power to increase your revenue. I will explain how:

  1. Clients are less likely to hold assets away from an adviser whom they trust. If you understand their goals and position yourself as a stakeholder in those goals, your clients will want you involved in the full picture.
  2. If you truly understand what motivates your clients, then you can better encourage them to make wiser, maybe even more aggressive, savings decisions.
  3. Rarely do people talk with their friends about how their adviser gained them a half percent on returns by reallocating their portfolio. They do talk about their goals, especially if they are making progress on these goals. If you are a key player in that progress, you can count on new referrals.

From the outset of a client relationship, asking the right questions will help you connect with the right clients and keep them engaged; it will enable you to differentiate your practice and build your brand. Knowing your clients is the best way to drive revenue growth. Take some time today to look at your on boarding process and consider what questions you really want to ask,” she concluded.

Owning your client experience

Brandin Arndt, Business Development Representative at Advicent says one of the biggest sales challenges that financial services firms face today is a way to differentiate themselves in a crowd of hundreds of other firms that offer a very similar service. However, many firms would argue that it is not the service that differentiates you, but the way that you deliver the service.

“The problem lies in the fact that there are two types of customers: those with traditional behaviours and those that have already changed. Those with traditional behaviours are still the source for the most revenue. True customisation at the enterprise level begins with owning your client experience and exceeding the expectations of all of your customers – traditional or not,” said Arndt.

By nature, Martha Collins, Associate Quality Assurance Analyst at Advicent says people want to be known, understood, and appreciated by those with whom they interact. “You, as their financial adviser, are no exception to this desire. You do not need me to tell you that each of your clients have uniquely different past experiences, understandings of their financial situation, and expectations of you. You cannot be successful if you approach each client’s situation in the same way. This is where your self-awareness and empathy can affect the relationships you have with your clients,” she says.

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Quick Polls


There are countless articles written about South Africa’s poor retirement outcomes. Which of the following would you single out as the biggest contributor to local savers not accumulating enough to buy an adequate and sustainable pension?


Lack of personal accountability
Poor participation in formal retirement funds
Reluctance to seek financial advice early on
SA’s high unemployment rate
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