Listen up! Six questions that will get clients talking

Planners will be in a better position to understand their client's needs by connecting with them on a personal level

A successful financial planner requires an extensive skillset, one that goes beyond the technical knowledge of the latest financial products and solutions. Interpersonal and communication skills are vital to gain and, more importantly, retain clients.

By connecting with clients on a personal level, planners will be in a better position to understand their needs. This allows advisers to provide the ideal solution for clients, and offer motivation and support to act on their plan and reach their financial goals.

Asking good, open-ended questions throughout meetings will encourage clients to open up about their aspirations for retirement.

Rather than jot down notes and mentally prepare to run through your sales pitch, make eye contact and fully engage in conversation.

Concentrate, show empathy, be aware of your body language and paraphrase back what they say. Doing this will help secure a human connection with your clients, and set your business apart from others. You will be amazed at how much you can remember if you are really present in the meeting.

Click on for six open-ended questions to help engage your clients.

A successful financial planner requires an extensive skillset, one that goes beyond the technical knowledge of the latest financial products and solutions. Interpersonal and communication skills are vital to gain and, more importantly, retain clients.

By connecting with clients on a personal level, planners will be in a better position to understand their needs. This allows advisers to provide the ideal solution for clients, and offer motivation and support to act on their plan and reach their financial goals.

Asking good, open-ended questions throughout meetings will encourage clients to open up about their aspirations for retirement.

Rather than jot down notes and mentally prepare to run through your sales pitch, make eye contact and fully engage in conversation.

Concentrate, show empathy, be aware of your body language and paraphrase back what they say. Doing this will help secure a human connection with your clients, and set your business apart from others. You will be amazed at how much you can remember if you are really present in the meeting.

Click on for six open-ended questions to help engage your clients.

What prompted you to contact a financial planner?

It is tempting to list all the reasons you should be the one to help them with their financial problems.

But rather than going straight into salesperson mode, begin the meeting by asking this valuable question. Your prospect will have the opportunity to explain what they need help with, and you will have a chance to listen actively.

What would be a great outcome for you in working with a financial planner?

This will prompt them to set out their expectations for how they believe a financial planner can help them. Essentially, they will tell you what they want from you, giving you a chance to deliver (and exceed) their expectations.

What would be a great outcome for you from this meeting today?

The client should walk away feeling happy about the time they invested in the meeting. This question ensures they leave feeling appreciated and confident your services and personalised recommendations will be precisely what they require.

What does retirement mean to you?

For many people, retirement is not about giving up work and doing nothing during their golden years. Some retirees may carry on working to some extent, perhaps on a part-time basis, which would mean they would generate some level of income.

Others may want to spend time travelling, in which case a healthy retirement income would be vital.

Indeed, one half of a couple might have an entirely different view of retirement to the other.

What are your biggest concerns right now?

Ask this if the client has not volunteered this information when answering the previous questions. They might be worried about something, which in turn could directly affect their financial situation. Their answer may result in you recommending a completely different strategy for them than the one you were initially planning.

What changes or challenges do you expect to happen in the coming years?

Predicting the future is impossible, but your client may have an idea of life events (redundancies on the horizon at work; a child’s university fees, etc…) coming up over the next few years that may change their financial priorities.

Financial planning, and retirement planning, are about more than how much money your client needs. It is about the quality of life they want to achieve and maintain for themselves and their loved ones.

By really listening to your clients’ goals, concerns, and dreams, you will be able to deliver a sound financial plan that will get them to where they want to be. Moreover, by connecting with them on a personal level, you are more likely to build a solid long-term relationship.

Amyr Rocha-Lima is partner at Holland Hahn & Wills

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