As you wrap up the New Year it’s important to set aside some time to sit down with clients, whether to tie up loose ends from 2014 or begin preparations for 2015. As you think about how to make these conversations more meaningful, try reflecting back on the conversations you’ve had that resulted in impactful changes for you. How were they different? What was it that made them stand out in your mind?
The great thing about coaching financial advisors is that the same tactics we use in coaching can be learned and mirrored by our financial advisor clients to deepen the relationships they have with their investor clients. Powerful questioning, for example, is a tactic we use at ClientWise to partner with our advisors in helping them to achieve their business goals. However, it can also be a key component understanding your clients’ financial needs, oftentimes to a greater extent than even they themselves understand.
Below are some tips we give our “coaches in training” in the powerful questioning module of The ClientWise Financial Services Coach Training Program™. By using these insights to engage in powerful questioning with your clients, you might generate some new learning in the process of discovering what they want to achieve in 2015 and beyond:
- Use your clients’ language to craft your questions. They’ll respond much more easily and be more inclined to elaborate if you are communicating with them in language they understand and relate to.
- Use the client’s situation within the language of the question. Relating to something they are going through personally, rather than using a vague example will generate more genuine and well-thought out responses.
- Where possible, craft the questions with language that reflects the clients’ methods of learning and processing. Reflect back on what your clients’ responded well to over the years and what’s caused them to change or shift their perspective when necessary. How can you recreate this in your language?
- Relate the question to the client’s objectives where possible. Remember, while you are there to cultivate a relationship, you are also working toward a specific goal and always want to keep this in mind throughout your conversations.
- Continue to identify what your clients have taught you about themselves and their situations and use that knowledge to create your questions.
- Avoid the habit of asking a particular question frequently or asking standard questions. These will stand in the way of creating customized questions geared to your client.
Creating customized questions is a result of deep listening, attention and practice. It requires you to think about the language of the question before asking it, and may require a moment or two of silence to ensure the question asked is designed for the client.
As beneficial as the skills of powerful questioning can be, they take a while to learn and implement effectively. So have patience with yourself and with your clients in the process. As a participant in the course, this has been one of the most enriching, if not the most difficult, takeaways I’ve had thus far. See for yourself by trying it out on your family and friends this holiday season! If you need some encouragement or examples of powerful questions we use here at ClientWise, feel free to reach out to our relationship managers John and Alessandra at 1.800.732.0876… they’re students of coaching themselves!
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