I was recently asked by a new advisor who joined my firm what I usually talked about at an initial prospect meeting. Casually I replied that I mostly asked questions, listened, and took notes.
Then he hit me with this: What are the 5 most important questions to ask at that initial meeting?
It was a great question and so I thought I’d share the reply here.
- Is there anything about your investments right now that you don’t fully understand?
- Is there anything about your investments right now that bothers you?
- Is there anything about your investments right now that you think could be done better?
- Do you know exactly what your current investment plan costs per year?
- If you were able to do better with your investments is there anything that would change in your life? Such as giving more to charity, helping family, traveling/indulging a little?
In reality, there are more questions you need to ask when meeting a new prospect for the first time, but those are the most important. Why? Well as an advisor your job is to help clients manage their money better so they can enjoy a more fulfilling life without financial worry.
By getting honest answers to these questions you’ll gain a better understanding of what really bothers potential clients about their financial life and what motivates them to improve it.
Getting honest answers isn’t always easy though.
To make sure prospective clients don’t just brush off these questions with half-hearted answers, be sure to repeat the question with their answer and then follow it with, “is there anything else that specifically [insert question]?”
So if I ask question #1 and they say, “Well, I think I understand my investments pretty well but maybe they could be more clear.” You’d follow with, “Okay, so you think you understand your investments well but they could be more clear – is there anything you specifically don’t understand about your investments?”
Give them a second and see what they say. Usually, you’ll uncover that most people aren’t fully honest with their first answer so asking it twice gets them to divulge more, trust you more, and prepare you more for a second meeting.
Finally, once they fully answered the question, restate their answer/answers and ask, “Is that all?” Get them to verbally say “yes” before you move on to the next question.
Having a process like this opens up your prospects much better than a bland fact finder sheet and keeps you listening and taking notes twice as much as talking. I’m sure you’ve heard that we have two ears and one mouth for a reason, right?
Follow these steps and you’ll find your meetings flow better and your closing rate will increase. More importantly, you’ll truly understand your prospects better and be able to provide more value – which should always be your primary objective.