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Here are the Top 10 Questions Your Clients Wish You'd Ask The Next Time You Meet

Let me ask you a question first ...

What do you think is more powerful?

A) Your client decides to follow up on your advice for your reasons

B)​ Your client decided to follow up on your advice for their reasons

No need to explain, right?

That's what the following questions are about. So that they decide for themselves why you are a friend in finances.​

Here are the top 10 questions:​

How did you start your business? OR: How did you start your career?

This question ALWAYS works for me. Why? Because people LOVE to tell their story. Just think about it. They can't share their story with anyone, because nobody asks them! Really, it's that simple. Remember, people love to talk about themselves, but they never get the chance. And most people are modest as well. They don't share their story 'out of the blue' with anyone:

  • Not with their friends, because it would be bragging
  • Not with their family, because most people don't talk about money with family. That's too 'close'
  • Not with their colleagues, because - again - that would be bragging​
What's the most important thing we should be discussing today?

If what you are talking about does not align with your clients' most urgent priorities, they are going to wish they were elsewhere. You will dramatically increase your relevance and influence if you spend more of your conversations focused on what is most important to your client.

Altnernative versions of this questions:

  • What would you like to talk about today
  • What's on your mind?
  • We've got 20 minutes left ... is there anything we haven't covered that we ought to discuss today?​

For what in life do you feel most grateful?

A sense of fulfillment is different from a feeling of accomplishment or happiness. Fulfillment comes from achieving your clients' hopes and dreams. It reflects a state of completeness or wholeness. It's when you have a sense of deep satisfaction. When you ask your client what fulfills them, it opens the door to exploring something that is invariably very special to that person. It creates a powerful connection.

What do you feel is the right decision for you?

Baltasar Gracián, a Spanish Jesuit who lives in the seventeenth century, was a trusted advisor to kings, queens and wealthy nobles. In his still popular book, The Art of Worldly Wisdom, he wrote:"When you advise a prince, you should appear to be reminding him of something he had forgotten, rather than the light he was unable to see".

Sometimes, your job is the help your clients go deeply into their hearts and recognize their own decision rather than push them in a particular direction.

What did you learn about ....?

This may surprise you: We often do not learn from our experiences. This has been demonstrated repeatedly in research studies conducted by social scientists. We attribute our successes to our own capabilities and performance, whereas we pin failures on other people or external circumstances beyond our control.

Why I'm sharing this seemingly irrelevant information?

Because when you are mentoring, advising or coaching someone, you'll help someone to remember to get the most out of their own experiences.

Peter Dru​cker once said: "Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action".

If you had to write your obituary today, what would you like it to say about you and your life?

Obituaries are normally for those who stay behind. They help the family and friends of those who have departed, celebrate their lives.

An obituary can become something important to the living in another way. Envisioning it ahead of time can help your client shape their lives. It can bring what's most important to them - and what they truly enjoy - into sharp focus.

Writing or thinking about their obituary now will highlight the choices they are making and can make.

Can you tell me about your plans?

To be a great listener, follow these 3 principles:

Humility: The Indian spiritual leader Mahatma Ghandi said: "To discover the truth, one most become as humble as dust." You must believe that you can learn from EVERY person you encounter.

Curiosity: As we grow older, our curiosity dies. The average five-year old asks 200 questions a day. How many questions do you ask your clients? Approach every situation with an intense sense of curiosity, and you will listen more.

Self-awareness: Your biases and prejudices will prevent you from listening to your clients. Woman often make the decision about which new car to buy, yet, in a typical car dealership, the salespeople pay for more attention to the husband. Know yourself!

Wy do you want to do that?

"Why?" can be a terrible question if used at the wrong time and for the wrong issues. It can communicate underlying dissaproval. It can sound critical, carping, and nagging. It can make your client feel bad about themselves.

"Why?" can also be a very powerful question. It can make your clients think more deeply about what they are doing, and help them get to the art of the issue. I use this often in my financial planning service. When I have analyzed that my client needs a 0% return on his assets to reach his goals, but he still wants to take risks, I ask: "Why do you want to do that now you know you can reach your goals with only a 0% return?"

What's your question?

This is a tough love question. People will resist it - often strenuously. Buy you must ask it sometimes.

When you ask your clients for advice, you can help them immeasurably by asking this question. It forces them to crystalize their thinking. It makes them ​take the first step toward clarifying what the issue is and what advice they really need from you.

By asking this question, you'll also help reduce the amount of posturing that people do with you. You'll move faster toward an authentic conversation. ​

Is there something else you'd like to accomplish?

Almost everyone has an unfulfilled aspiration or dream, no matter where they are in their career or their life. Rarely, however, do others invite them to share it.

Anyone can carry on a conversation about plans, reports, and recommendations. Go deeper and create a sublime moment by asking this question. 

Did you find this helpful?

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