When you’ve ever followed a training on your interview skills, one of the most heard techniques is that you should use open-end questions that encourage more than one-word answers. This gives people an opportunity to further explain themselves and adds color and texture to their personal story. And that gives you the opportunity to ask depth questions to come to know more of the goals of your client. Which is the basis of your financial plan. There’s just one problem you may encouter. When people meet you for the first time, they are mostly not eager to tell you their whole story. Why? They don’t trust you yet.
But there is a simple way to let people say the things you want to know. Even when they don’t trust you yet. I use it often in my first interviews with my clients. It’s by telling your own story first. And when you do, tell the things about you that you want your clients to tell. Why does this work? Let me tell you by giving an example you’ll probably recognize. When you are at a meeting or a training with people you’ve never met, it usually starts with an introduction. It goes like this: “Hi, I’m Ronald, 36 years old, I am a financial planner and father of two kids”. Then the person next to you is going to introduce him of herself. Can you predict what this person will say? It goes like this: “Hi, I’m Suzan, 34 years old, I am a financial life planner and I have one daughter”. Recognizable? When I would have said: “Hi, I’m Ronald. The reason that I’m here is that I want to know more about the change in the latest tax legislation”. The next person would have said something like: Hi, I’m Suzan. The reason that I’m here…….”.
So when you want to know more about what’s important in the life of your clients, tell your clients what’s important to you by announcing it. So in this example you would say: “What’s important in my life is that ……”. So that your client will tell you what’s important in his life. What if your client doesn’t tell you? No problem, just ask him. It feels really natural to ask this, when you’ve just told him what is important to you. He’ll feel an ‘obligation’ to tell you (this is known as ’the law of reciprocity’). Here’s an example: “I’m curious, now you know my story, I would like to know something about you. Can you tell me what’s important in your life?” Your client will tell and you can help your client now you know the things you want to know to make your financial plan.
How do you ask your clients what you want to know as a financial planner? Please tell me by leaving a comment. Thank you for that.