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First Meeting Mistake 7: Not Asking Searching and Interesting Questions

I believe that asking great questions equals easier selling. But what makes a great question? It’s a question that lets the client remember what’s important to them. It forces them to dig that little bit deeper than they would normally and benefits both the client and you, the adviser.

At a first meeting you will get involved in asking about (and perhaps briefly discussing) the clients’ facts and figures. However, it is absolutely critical that you ask searching and interesting questions that help the client think more deeply about their situation.

Although clients can, and will, come in to discuss a specific issue (e.g. a pension problem), as a skilled adviser you should recognise instantly that this is never the issue. No one buys a pension or an investment product do they? They are buying a future outcome, a lifestyle, or opportunities for their children.

They may not recognise that themselves yet, and may even say point blank that they are only interested in advice on their [insert product type here]. With the right skills, you can see beyond what they say and open up the discussion to the broader issues, but that requires some searching and interesting questions.

I believe that every person knows what they want to do with themselves and their lives. However, in a busy and stressful world,  we often forget. So asking the right questions simply helps clients remember what is important to them. Perhaps the most important part of an adviser’s job is to help clients remember what is actually important to them, deal with the money issues that may appear to prevent the client from living their ideal life, and keep them on track from year to year. When you start to think of this as your job, it can get pretty exciting!

To help you help your clients in this area, all of the gurus have some great questions to ask clients:

Bill Bachrach’s famous question is: “What’s important about money to you?”

Dan Sullivan’s famous question is: “If we were sitting here in 3 years time and looking back on the last 3 years, what would had to have happened both personally and professionally for you to feel happy with your progress? Specifically, what dangers would you like to eliminate? What opportunities would you like to capture? And what strengths would you like to maximise?”

George Kinder’s famous three questions are: Question 1: “Imagine you are financially secure, that you have all the money in the world. How would you live your life? Would you change anything? Let yourself go. Don’t hold back. Describe a life that is complete for you.”

Question 2: “Now imagine that you visit your doctor, who tells you that you have only 5 – 10 years to live. You won’t ever feel sick, but you will have no notice of the moment of your death. What will you do in the time you have remaining? Will you change your life and how will you do it?” (Note that this question does not assume unlimited funds.)

Question 3: “Finally, imagine that your doctor shocks you with the news that you only have 24 hours to live. Ask yourself: What did you miss? Who did you not get to be? What did you not get to do?”

All of these are very powerful and can really help clients get to the core of what really matters to them.

In each case the gurus have a whole process around these questions, which is why I strongly recommend you get on one of their courses to find out more.

Asking great questions acts as the differentiator for you and your company at the first client meeting. Instead of telling people how good you are (never easy or enjoyable for most of us), you look good simply by asking questions that help the client see their bigger issues. This is the bit that creates the deep engagement you are really looking for at the first meeting.

By Brett Davidson

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