The breakfast of champion planners is asking good questions. When a client comes in our office we could assume that we know exactly what they want based on their demographics or we could spend a few hours learning what’s important to them. We choose the later because we know the time we invest up-front learning about what’s important with our clients helps us save time and achieve a better result down the road.
Many people in the advice business believe clients come to them for their expertise. These professionals will often start telling a client what they should do before they understand what the client wants. I often call this having a solution looking for a problem.
When I ran my vending business it was very rare when an advisor would walk in my office, sit down and start asking questions. They would assume that because I owned a business I had a particular set of problems that they were in a position to help with. This never worked out and the advisor never got any business from me using this strategy.
I think that asking questions is always the key to great service. Some of the reasons for this are:
- Questions allow you to watch and learn what gets your clients excited. When you let your client lead the conversation you are likely to find something they are interested in.
- Questions let you find out why the client wanted to speak with you in the first place. When we assume why the client has requested time with us we can often have made a wrong assumption. The client walks away frustrated because they weren’t heard.
- Questions allow the client to stay in control. I often write and talk about how important it is for clients to stay in control of their planning situation. Asking questions that are open ended and allow the client to fully talk about their issues allows the client to stay in control.
- Questions are important to help us fill in information the client might not understand or be clear on. The work we do is complicated. When we listen and question, we can tell whether our clients understand what we’re talking about. If there is a communication gap, questions allow us to gain clarity both for our clients and ourselves.
- A good question will help a client consider things they may have never thought about. One of my favorite things to do is to explore areas that clients haven’t thought about but might have a significant importance in their life.
Questions are the breakfast of champions. When an advisor asks lots of questions it often means they have enough self-confidence that they don’t have to always be the one talking. Listening and spending time up-front often improves the engagement and has a better end result.
What are your experiences working with advisors and the types of questions they ask? If you want to let me know, please send me an email to Jpatrick@stage2planning.com.
We have a great video we would like you to watch on the investment environment. I’m sure you’ll enjoy this interactive process. Please click on the button below to go to our video page.