Enhanced Questioning Skills for Next-Gen Advisors

Michelle R. DonovanAdvisor Perspectives welcomes guest contributions. The views presented here do not necessarily represent those of Advisor Perspectives.

Over the last few months, I’ve had multiple clients struggling with the same issue: During their first meeting, they don’t know how to respond once the prospect answered their question and stopped talking. Coincidentally, these clients were all next-generation financial advisors. At times, the answers were not robust, and an awkward silence filled the air. The advisors were taken aback and were ill-prepared to continue the conversation with ease.

In some cases, young advisors are given scripted formats for meetings to simplify their training and/or feed them “success strategies.” This concept is not faulty. But scripts lack personality, flexibility and creativity while prospects do have personality and can be unpredictable.

Without situational coaching, young advisors are unprepared when the conversation goes off script.

Next-gen advisors should realize that the first question asked to the prospect is not necessarily the only question that needs to be posed. I’ve needed to coach my clients on the importance of the follow-up questions. Follow-up questions are directly linked to your natural sense of curiosity and desire to learn more. The more you know about a person, the better you can serve them. Learning more about people ensures that you’re solving the right issue as well. There’s nothing worse than trying to solve a problem for a prospect or client only to find out that the problem wasn’t a problem after all; you just thought it was because you didn’t listen well enough.