Effective listening is as important as effective planning when it comes to turning prospects into clients. Advisors have to know what the problems are before they can solve them, so asking valuable questions is vital.

Bill Brooks is the founder of The Brooks Group and has helped countless advisors become better questioners and listeners. He is a proponent of three-deep questioning to get to the heart of matters. The first step is to ask a thoughtful, deeper question than most might ask, something like, How well organized are your finances? Listen closely, then follow up with a question like, What do you mean? Listen some more and follow up by echoing the prospect’s thoughts, whether those be concerns or positives.

Conducting three-deep questioning isn’t easy, especially when you have to ask several questions to really understand a person’s situation, but, Brooks points out, so much of financial planning is emotional and people don’t get there if they aren’t allowed to talk things out.