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Financial Planning > Behavioral Finance

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According to authors Scott West and Mitch Anthony, closing a sale is dependent on the discovery process — advisors who ask the wrong questions, get the wrong answers. There’s an art, though, to asking the best questions. In their book, Storyselling for Financial Advisors, the authors outline five questions to elicit revealing answers from clients:

  1. Ask where they’re from. Asking this question gets clients to open up about their past and reflect on fond memories.
  2. Ask about their work. Work forms a major part of a person’s identity and skipping this question leaves a big gap in your image of the client.
  3. Asking about a clients’ best financial decision allows them bragging rights. It may even get them to open up about their worst investment decisions and show you what lessons they’ve learned (or not learned) about investing.
  4. Ask if anyone is depending on your clients’ financial decisions. Many boomers are caring for children and parents at the same time.
  5. Ask if your clients’ have any special interests in where they invest their money. As socially responsible investing becomes more rule than exception, advisors can’t afford not to ask if clients are opposed to certain sectors, companies or funds.

Source: “Storyselling for Financial Advisors,” Scott West and Mitch Anthony


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