The Client-centred Blog

A simple financial planning questions formula

Asking appropriate, intelligent financial planning questions is a key element of the financial planning process. But if you try to memorise questions it can work against you.

Why is this?

Because effective, heartfelt, and powerful communication is intuitive and natural rather than memory based.

So, what can you do? This article explores a different and easier approach to asking financial planning questions.

One of the reasons I stopped teaching questioning techniques to financial planners was because I saw that it could result in them over-thinking.

If this happened then instead of being present and fully responsive to their clients they were thinking too much about the questions they wanted to ask. For example:

*What should I ask?

*When should I ask it?

*What is the next question?

*Am I doing this in the right way?

And so on…

The problem with speaking from memory, like trying to remember specific questions, is that there is little feeling behind the words. This creates a barrier to human connection and is not very engaging for a client.

So, it is far better to know the direction you want to go in, but without trying to remember specific questions.

In this way you can have an extremely high quality of attention on your client and allow your questions to be intuitive rather than memorised.

This makes the process of gather soft facts conversational and highly engaging for a client.

A simple yet highly effective financial planning questions formula

A simple question formula that works well is this:

*Where are you now?

*Where are you going?

*What is the goal behind the goal?

*What could stop you?

Imagine you meet with a potential new client or even an existing one and your aim is to understand them and gather all the information you need to create a highly compelling financial plan.

‘Where are you going?’ explores the future and elicits your clients goals.

‘Where are you now?’ is not only a picture of the current situation but also how they got there.

‘What is the goal behind the goal?’ is an exploration of the emotional values behind a goal or destination. Ultimately, this is always what someone wants.

‘What could stop you?’ provides the opportunity to anticipate and deal with potential obstacles before they become a problem.

Making it simple

The intellectual mind loves to make things more complex. It likes to chunk things down into more and more parts. But complexity does not make things easier.

I have seen many financial planners have great long lists of questions they want to ask client. Whilst the intention is good, this can easily lower the tone of meetings.

Albert Einstein said, ‘Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.’

Ultimately, having less on your mind brings communication to life and creates better client outcomes. So, by using the simple financial planning questions formula you can gather the information you need without trying to remember lots of questions.

P.S. Do you want to become a master of asking great questions? If so, check out the exciting new resource, ‘Financial Planning Power Questions’.

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