Now that the client hopefully trusts us and our motives, we can determine his needs. We should be asking a lot of questions here. I prefer to preface my question phase: “In order to do a better job for you, may I ask you a few questions? The upcoming questions will help me maximize your time here and make sure that I provide the right solution for your particular needs.”
One of my favorite sayings is, “prescription without diagnosis is malpractice.” Similar to a doctor who asks a lot of questions, I, too, ask many questions before I eventually come up with the proper solution. Now the big question becomes, what does a client really want? Often a client wants one thing but needs another. As a salesperson, our job is to find out what the client really needs and then assist them. There are a couple steps you must take. One is problem identification, then there’s discovery, and finally you can qualify.
In the problem identification step, I like to ask questions such as: “What brought you to our seminar? What brought you to our office?” and “What are your primary concerns right now?” Then the “feeling” questions, such as: “How comfortable are you with your current financial situation? How satisfied are you with your current financial plan?” and “How satisfied are you with your current financial advisor?”
Then ask him to describe the relationship he has with his current advisor, such as the process they went through to create his current financial plan. Here is where you are able to ask questions about how often they got together, what other types of services they offer and how often does he look at your taxes? For example, “Is your current advisor proactive in the last few months of the year, making sure that you, the client, takes advantage of the gains and/or losses in your portfolio?” Here is where I differentiate myself.
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There are several tactics I use in the process of problem identification. The first one I recommend is using a client information sheet to ensure you are getting all of the pertinent information, including finances. This worksheet has an outline to discover what a client’s goals and dreams are, his aspirations, what type of lifestyle he wants and what his current budget is.