Hello and welcome to our exclusive article that addresses Questions Great Financial Advisors Ask.
This article promises to give you a complete review of some of the greatest Financial questions ever asked and how you can leverage these for your business.
Reading through this article, we will cover:
Let’s get right into it!
As a financial advisor, it’s not always about the numbers.
Sometimes, to get the information you need from a client, you’ve got to ask the right questions the first time you meet with them.
So today, we specifically look at what questions great Financial Advisors ask when dealing with their clients to help build a better financial picture.
It’s a critical aspect of your business when dealing with potential clients, no matter what you are trying to help them with.
It could be helping someone with their retirement planning, help on the stock market, investment advice, or a comprehensive financial planning process.
Why do you need to ask questions?
These are the main reasons why you need to ask the right questions of your clients.
Build a relationship
Asking the right questions also helps build better client relationships and trust between the two parties.
Imagine an investment advisor meeting their client for the first time and not asking relevant questions?
How do you feel a client will view you?
Well, they won’t be that confident in your financial services and your ability in making the right financial decisions or drawing up an effective financial plan, for example.
Clients are savvy, that’s for sure.
They will take note of an advisor’s words and guidance or lack thereof.
And that can seriously affect the relationship between the two parties.
Remember, one of the best ways to get new clients is through referrals from others.
That’s only going to be possible when they trust you and there is a strong relationship between both parties.
Getting the information you need
Other than helping to show your expertise and building a relationship with clients, there’s another critical reason as to why you need to ask the right questions.
Certified financial planners (CFP) and advisors need answers from clients to help with financial planning that help those clients reach their financial goals.
This can only be achieved by sitting down and talking to them.
And this gathering of information is driven by asking them questions initially.
It’s from there that you can:
- Analyze the unique situation of each client
- Provide them with a specific financial plan that will help them reach their goals
So what questions great financial advisors ask?
So let’s start with the obvious.
Remember, most of your clients you would never have met before.
Initially, the questions you will ask are all about finding out a little more about their unique circumstances.
Here are some of the great questions financial advisors ask to start with.
Can you tell if me if you’ve ever used the services of a financial advisor before?
This is the kind of question you can start with because it will tell you how much experience a client will have in terms of what financial advisors do.
If they haven’t worked with one before, you are starting from scratch.
If they have, obviously the relationship ended for some reason and you need to understand why that is.
Also, if they have worked with a financial advisor at some point, they will have a certain understanding of what you can do for them.
That might not always be correct, however, and perhaps that led to the fact that they cut their ties with their first financial advisor.
But a simple question like this is the perfect lead-off.
Can you give me an overview of what exactly I can help you with?
So you’ve got to determine what a client needs help with.
For example, if you are a financial advisor that deals exclusively with mutual funds but a client wants advice on retirement planning, you aren’t best placed to help them, right?
Keep everything as casual as possible when determining what a client expects.
Often, client expectations are very different from how things operate in the world of finance and they might need to be steered in the right direction.
That’s especially true for clients who have never used a financial advisor before.
It’s all about understanding their starting point.
And they might have certain aspects of their financial picture in place already.
These could be good or bad and it’s by asking questions like this that you can gauge just where they stand.
Do you think you are reaching the financial goals that you’ve set for yourself?
So the first two questions would have provided you with a fair amount of information about your new client.
Part of that would be finding out what it is they want from you as a financial advisor but also, what their financial goals are.
And yes, they will have unique financial goals, so if they aren’t too forthcoming when you’ve asked them the first few questions, you can now get a little more direct.
After all, a client wouldn’t turn to you and make use of your services if they didn’t have any financial goals.
The obvious next step is to ask them if they are currently reaching them.
Again, their answer (and whether they are reaching their goals or not) will provide you with critical information about their financial position and their expectations of you.
Could you tell me why you have reached out to me?
This is another excellent follow-up question for information gathering.
That’s because a client will tell you in their own words why they think they need your services.
You probably have a basic idea already, especially if you specialize in a particular field of finance.
But building an idea of what you think they need you for and hearing it from them often helps with managing expectations.
Remember, people approaching you for financial help aren’t the experts.
That doesn’t mean they haven’t formulated ideas of what you do and how you can help in their minds.
Some of these might be totally wrong but if you don’t set them right, it might reach a point where they think you aren’t really helping.
And that’s how financial advisors can easily lose clients.
The trick here is never to assume something that a client wants or needs.
Get them to tell you and go from there.
How do you see your financial situation changing?
No two clients are the same, that’s for sure.
All of them are going to have expectations of how their financial situation will look 5, 10, 15, and more years down the line.
By using a question like this, you again can judge what their expectations are.
Make sure you understand how life might impact their financial situation down the line.
For example, a newly married couple asking for financial advice will probably have children one day.
That’s a pretty big deal and will impact their financial planning.
For example, they might want to fund their children’s education.
Or what about a client that has aging parents or those that are starting a business?
All of these scenarios (and there are many more) will have implications when it comes to financial planning.
You’ve got to find out from each client what their unique situation holds and then work from there.
Tell me about your experience when it comes to investment?
One of the main reasons why someone would approach an investment advisor is to help them plan their investments or deal with those they already have.
Some clients will have more experience when it comes to this than others.
While some questions look to the future, this will help give you an idea of their investment past.
Perhaps they had a bad experience with a previous investment advisor.
By asking a question like this, you can find out critical information that will help you use the right approach in dealing with them.
Other than money, what is important to you as a person?
Now, why would a financial advisor ask a question like this?
Well, while clients need your expertise with some aspect of financial planning, investments, or trading stocks, for example, there is more to the relationship than that.
Again, finding out more about someone, and vice versa helps to build the relationship between the two parties.
I’m not talking about becoming firm friends that visit each other every weekend.
No, this is more about trust.
That’s what’s established when the relationship is a little deeper.
Understanding a client’s value system, their overall purpose in life, their hopes, and their dreams can help you when planning their future for them.
At this moment, what are your most urgent concerns when it comes to your finance?
If you want to know the main reasons as to why a client has hired you, then this is the perfect question to ask.
Listening carefully to what a client says and you’ll hear what concerns them financially.
And that’s then what you need to address.
If you can’t help them with their most urgent concerns, a client won’t make use of your services for very long, that’s for sure.
Why have you approached me to help you?
Don’t underestimate how critical this question can be.
It’s not so much about the information that you can get from a client with regards to their financial background.
It’s more about finding out where you are in the marketplace.
There’s lots of competition out there and knowing how a potential client views what you have to offer is important.
So it’s useful from a marketing perspective, that’s for sure.
It also helps to gauge just what a client expects from you and as we’ve seen already, that’s a critical factor.
If you cannot deliver on those expectations or if you don’t adjust unrealistic ones, you are going to get anywhere with that client.
Do you see yourself as a positive or negative person?
You might be wondering what a question like this has to do with anything.
But I can assure you, it’s super important and one that needs to be asked in your initial meetings with a new client.
Let’s look at an example of why?
Perhaps you are dealing with someone who wants help with their investments.
Maybe they already have investments or are starting from scratch.
Knowing if a person is an optimist or a pessimist will help you deal with them when it comes to the volatility of the stock market.
It also will help to work out their risk tolerance.
An optimist is going to be more open to the occasional loss knowing that investments are long-term and will grow substantially over time.
A pessimist, however, probably won’t see it that way at all and any loss on their investment, no matter how small, could spell trouble.
Now can you see why a question like this is critical to ask?
Do you have a monthly budget?
If you want to find out more about a client and their spending habit, ask them if they have a budget they follow each month.
This is the best possible way to find out just how they deal with expenses based on their income.
You can see if clients favor spending or saving, or vice versa.
And if they don’t have a budget, it should be one of the first things you have them set up, especially if they are spending above their means.
Sometimes people need to be shown in black and white where their financial challenges lie.
In this article, we’ve covered some of the questions financial advisors should ask their clients.
By making sure you are well prepared and by asking them, you can find out all you need to know to help a client effectively.
Also, it helps to understand their expectations, which may be very different from what you can deliver.
Through good finance questions, you can help educate your clients to understand just how you as an advisor can help them.
If you have any comments or have ideas for financial planning questions to ask clients, leave a comment below.
5. Alan Parisse