Questions that won’t trigger clients’ fight-or-flight state

Asking questions is key for financial advisors to identify critical information about their clients. 

It is important that quality questions are asked to promote a safe space for clients to share their issues at hand. If phrased wrongly, questions could trigger a client’s fight-or-flight state.

When asking clients questions, start with background information leading to their financial situation and finishing with personal interests and goals.

Easing clients into the process

To put new prospects or clients at ease, ask about current situations and their short- and long-term goals. At the same time, discover their comfort level when discussing financial topics. Finally, we can begin a discussion about what they know about financial planning.

Here are some questions to help you get started:

  • What are you looking to achieve from this meeting?
  • Tell me about some of your goals in your life.
  • When it comes to your money, what are the top three most important things to you?
  • Have you worked with any financial advisors in the past? If yes, why have you decided on me, and what do you currently have in your portfolio?
  • If there was only one goal that you want to achieve, what goal would that be?
  • Is there anyone else who should be involved in your financial planning? If so, who are they and what role do they play?

These questions are meant to identify their goals, intentions and personal experiences.

Tackling the financial questions

Talking about finances can be an emotional process. Establish a level of comfort with your clients before delving deeper into their current state of finances and why they have certain accounts or policies. 

These questions would include topics such as investments, family, legacy and most importantly, retirement planning. As Carol Kheng, ChFC, a 24-year MDRT member from Singapore, said, due to growing life expectancies having the potential to drain finances.

Consider asking your prospects or clients these financial-related questions:

  • Do you have a plan in place if you get hurt or are unable to work?
  • If you have or are planning to have kids, how would you want to be involved in your children’s and grandchildren’s lives?
  • How many people are you financially responsible for?
  • What do you intend to leave for your family and loved ones should anything happen to you?
  • What do you have in mind for your retirement?
  • At what age do you intend to retire, and why is that important?

By asking strategic questions, you will be able to spark meaningful conversations with your clients and prospects. Ying Ru Carol Chin, BSc (Hons), AFT, a three-year MDRT member from Singapore, said, “I strongly believe in the work that we do. People buy you first. People want to buy; they do not want to be sold. The key to unlocking the difference is the relationship.” 

This was excerpted from “Important questions to ask prospects and clients to understand their financial goals.” [MDRT member exclusive]

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