Quality client relationships are the cornerstone of a successful business, and financial practices are no different. Clients have to put a great deal of their trust and confidence in their financial advisors. Building that type of relationship with a new client or deepening that relationship with existing clients can be challenging. Why? Because every client is unique and their financial goals different.
Challenges, risk tolerance, and personal values are unique to each investor. Having effective questioning skills is essential to ensure you accurately gather the information needed to understand your clients on a personal level so you can help them reach their financial life goals.
Don’t plan for the meeting, plan for the person. Take some time to review what you know about the client. Are they a potential client, a new client, or an existing client? Were they referred by another client? Did they respond to a specific outreach campaign? Has it been a while since you’ve spoken with this client about their overall investment portfolio? Use this knowledge to guide your questions.
Here are three examples that expand on this idea:
You’re preparing to meet with a potential client, referred to you by a current client you’ve worked with for years.
How do you know [current client], and what do you feel made them sugges our advisory firm?
This potential client is a parent with at least one child and is seeking a more entrepreneurial career. From here, you can ask more specific questions (How will their role as a business owner be different from their current job? What do they feel needs to happen before starting their business? Have they started a college fun for their child?) that help you understand their values even more.
I was never really taught how to manage money and now that my income is growing, I want to make sure I’m not making the same mistakes my parents have made. The seminar seemed like a great place to start learning about money management and planning for the future.
This new client hasn’t had the most positive experiences with money and is proactive about preparing for their financial future. From here, you may pivot into a conversation around money fears and what the client feels they most need to prepare for .
This current client has been through a major life event that shifted their values and they want their financial plan to reflect that. From here, you can follow-up with more personal questions about their changed perspective (What do they consider to be quality time? What needs to be sacrificed to allow them to “slow down”?) and apply those answers to individual financial planning.
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