Do you know where your next client is coming from? Do you need more ideas or more prospects? Would you like more time, more money, more fun? If the answer is “I want all of those! I want more time, I want more money and I want more fun,” then you need to become an expert in communication — the art of questioning, answering objectives and collaboration. First and foremost, I think communication in the art of questioning is the thing that you really need to get a handle on.
You have to learn how to turn compelling statements and/or observations into questions. Asking questions assists in building rapport, gaining confidence, and collecting more and better data. Questions, for instance, about estate tax or asset protection: “Have you analyzed which asset to distribute at what time and in what order to increase the value to your children?” “Do you think that estate planning is all about taxes? Because I will suggest to you that it’s not. Estate planning is getting the right asset to the right person at the right time and the right amount.” It is philosophical conversations. It is charitable conversations. It is finding out that they have one child who is on drugs, and they don’t want to leave that child a lot of money. It is finding out that a daughter might very well be getting ready to marry a tennis bum, and he thinks they are going to end up divorced. It is really important to get in between the lines, not just on the lines. “After you’re gone, will your children talk to each other?” We have all seen situations where families fall apart because Mom and Dad didn’t take into account what was important to the kids. “It took a lifetime to build your estate; doesn’t it make sense to take a few moments to preserve it?”
“Equal” and “fair” are not necessarily the same thing. For instance, how do you divide a car or a business into thirds? It’s not necessarily the same asset. It might be that I give a house over here and a portion of the business over here and a car over there and assets and money and securities, but not the same asset because all people don’t have the same ability to be able to handle their money, and all people are not financially responsible. So, the structure on which the assets are left to them is also extremely important.
Simon Singer, CAP, CFP, is a 37-year MDRT member. Hear more in the new episode of MDRT Presents: