For clients purchasing insurance is not the goal, but a measure to reach their goal. They want to find out what and how to prepare for a happy and regret-free life. If the client is a business owner, I will talk about both corporate and personal issues. I will also talk about the problems that may occur if the client lives too long or suffers from a series of misfortunes.
So I can understand the client better and create the best financial plan for them, I gather information. It begins with fact-finding and some questions I ask based on the information I already know. This helps me avoid asking the wrong type of questions. For example, if they work for a large company, the salary is probably good and the company has a retirement plan. Or, if the client has purchased a house in the center of Tokyo, this also indicates a good income.
From there, I ask questions. Below are some examples of the dialogue and questions I use to discover more about the prospect or client:
Advisor: “If you have hundreds of millions of yen, you will be able to manage on your own without insurance. Do you have that much in assets?”
Prospect: “No, of course not.” (This is an answer in most cases.)
Then, you would continue like this.
Advisor: “Well, if you had hundreds of millions of yen, you wouldn’t have a mortgage.”
From this exchange, I can find out how much protection the client needs in case of an emergency.
Advisor: “If you were to die before your parents, how concerned would you be about them?”
Prospect: “My parents can take care of themselves, so they’ll be fine.”
This answer is a hint that the prospect’s parents have money and might need estate planning assistance. Or the prospect may say the following:
Prospect: “I’m worried because I send money to my parents.”
This client may need to prepare a death benefit to leave money as living expenses to the parents as well as expenses for their care.
Advisor: “Do you hate the idea of living an unexpectedly long life and losing your savings?”
Advisor: “I understand that you want to avoid that situation. Then, do you have an idea of how much money you need at retirement? Are you prepared for it?”
This helps us understand the client’s financial goals and understand the current situation. I can then begin to create a plan for them so they have a retirement free of financial worries. If the client’s goal is not insurance but to achieve happiness for themselves and their families, then we should also advise them toward that goal.
If we have this attitude, the way we listen and the questions we ask will change. Therefore, the solutions we offer, including insurance, will also change.
Yuji Uchikawa is a 19-year MDRT member from Tokyo, Japan.
For more questions to ask clients and prospects:
- Watch “Questions that build trust with clients”
- Read “Important questions to ask prospects and clients to understand their financial goals” [MDRT member exclusive]