Are your client conversations doing all they should?

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Are your client conversations doing all they should?

Your ability to provide outstanding, personalized service is limited only by the quality of information you elicit from each client. Therefore, ensuring that you have a well-rounded, honest conversation is critical.

That means gathering the information that will allow you to recommend the investments, asset allocations, insurance and other financial products that are appropriate for your client. It also means getting a 360º view of the client’s life — not just their financial situation but their family, their lifestyle, their needs and aspirations. To do this you’ll need to cultivate a trusting relationship. Here are some tips to help you get clients to open up.

Ease into conversations. No one likes to feel interrogated. Start with easy, straightforward questions that feel “low risk” to the client, such as “how long have you lived in your current home?” Or “tell me a bit about your work.”

Ask open-ended questions. A broad question such as “Can you tell me about yourself?” allows the client to steer the conversation.

Establish risk tolerance. Many of your recommendations will hinge on this, so be sure to discuss this early in the conversation.

Confirm risk tolerance. Some people think they’re comfortable with risk (or vice versa) without thinking through what that could look like. Do a double check by asking scenario-based, “how would you feel if…” questions.

Ask how they feel about their investments. This helps you gauge their risk comfort and performance expectations in more concrete terms, as well as finding out whether they are currently meeting their objectives.

Talk holistically about money. Few people aim to save money for its own sake. It matters because of what it allows them to do. Before you can draft a financial plan, it’s critical to first explore what the person needs and wants to do with their money.

Talk about goals. Your job is to both manage the person’s situation today — and get them where they want to be. Since many people aren’t good at imagining themselves in the future, also present more specific questions. For example: “How long do you think you’ll continue to work?” “Would you like to stay in your current home when you retire?” “How will you fill your time in retirement?” “Have you thought about what you’d like to leave your children?”

Talk to the family. Be sure to include your client’s spouse. If you’re working with a husband who takes care of all the finances, be sure to include the wife in discussions to establish trust; 70% of women who are widowed or divorced leave the family advisor. Try to meet with adult children. This also helps ensure transparency, especially when dealing with elderly or aging clients.

Be sure to turn to the many Advisor tools provided by Carte Financial Group to aid your early conversations, such as Care Core for CRM and compliance management and Carte Links content management for client communications.