Six Questions To Engage Your Clients
By connecting with our clients on a personal level, we’ll be in a better position to really hear what their needs are. Then we can provide the ideal solution for them, plus motivation and support...
A successful financial planner requires an extensive skill set; one that extends beyond the technical knowledge of the latest financial products and solutions. Interpersonal and communication skills are vital to not only gain clients but also to retain them too.
By connecting with our clients on a personal level, we’ll be in a better position to really hear what their needs are. Then we can provide the ideal solution for them, plus motivation and support so they can act on their plan and reach their financial goals. In the blog, I would like to suggest how you can make that connection with your clients and prospects, covering those all-important "questions to ask" to help you with this.
How to connect with your clients on a human level
Asking several good, open-ended questions throughout your meeting will get your clients to open up about what their aspirations are for retirement. However, rather than jotting down notes and mentally preparing to run through your sales pitch, make eye contact instead and fully engage in the conversation.
Actively listen – concentrate, show empathy, be aware of your body language and paraphrase back to your clients what you’ve heard them say. Doing this will help you to secure that human connection with your clients and set your business apart from others. Plus, you’ll be amazed at how much you can remember if you are really present in the meeting!
Six open-ended questions to help you engage with your clients
1. “What prompted you to contact a financial planner?”
At the initial meeting with a prospective client, it’s tempting to walk them through all the reasons why you should be the one to help them with their financial problems. However, 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’ll have a chance to listen actively.
2. “What would be a great outcome for you in working with a financial planner?”
Once you’ve heard what the prospect has to say, this next question will prompt them to set out their expectations for how they believe a financial planner can help them. Essentially, they’ll be telling you what they want from you, giving you a chance to deliver (and exceed) their expectations.
3. “What would be a great outcome for you from this meeting today?”
The client should walk away from the meeting feeling happy about the time they invested in it. By asking this question, you can ensure your client leaves feeling appreciated and confident that your services and personalised recommendations will be precisely what they require.
4. “What does retirement mean to you?”
For many people, retirement isn’t about giving up work and doing nothing during their golden years. Some retirees may want to carry on working to some extent, perhaps on a part-time basis, which would mean they’d be generating some level of income.
Others may want to spend time travelling, in which case, a healthy retirement income would be vital. And one half of a couple, for example, might have an entirely different view of retirement to the other!
5. “What are your biggest concerns right now?”
Ask this question if the client hasn’t volunteered this information when answering the questions above. Your client might be worried about something which in turn could directly impact their financial situation. Their answer may result in you recommending a completely different strategy for them than the one you were initially planning.
6. “What changes or challenges do you expect to happen in the next 5 years?”
Predicting the future is impossible of course, 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.
Deliver more than a financial product
Financial planning, and retirement planning especially, is about more than how much money your client needs. It’s about the quality of life they want achieve and maintain for themselves and their loved ones.
By really listening to what your client is saying about their goals, concerns, and dreams, you’ll 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’re more likely to build a solid long-term relationship with them too.
Amyr Rocha Lima, CFP® is a partner at Holland Hahn & Wills LLP, a financial planning practice based in Kingston upon Thames. He specialises in working with successful professionals age 50+ helping them reduce taxes, invest smarter and retire on their terms.