At SHIFT this year, we were in awe of Brendan Frazier’s 10 Insights to Master the Human Side of Advice. So many of the insights resonated with us and are problems we’ve set out to solve - or at least make it easier for advisors.
For those of you wondering how you can use Lumiant to maximize Brendan’s insights and change your business’s trajectory, you're in luck!
We've decided it would be worth looking at his ten insights through a Lumiant lens. This week we bring you Insight Two: Asking Great Questions is a Superpower
If you didn’t attend SHIFT, you can check out his full article here.
Asking Great Questions is a Superpower
This insight wasn't a surprise for us to hear at Lumiant HQ. We understand the power of asking the right questions and how they can help you to get to know your clients deeply. Great questions can help you to gain a better understanding of your client's goals, needs, and concerns, allowing you to create a tailored financial plan that meets their needs.
"It's like peeling the onion. The first two layers are the basics: when will you retire; how much will you need? The next step was goals-based advice, where we peel off a couple more layers and get a deeper understanding of our client's needs, wants, and wishes. But where the real magic lies is going a couple of layers deeper to understand the client's values and what's really important to them. This is the core of who they are and what structures the outer layers."
Another advisor talks about it as the 'Five Whys.' When asking clients what's important to them, you keep asking why until you get to the heart of the issue.
As mentioned in Insight One: Goals Shift. Values Persist., clients often don't stop and take the time to ask themselves the questions that will help them shape and sustain an extraordinary life. By asking great questions, you're giving clients the time and space to think beyond the day-to-day and start considering what their best life looks like. It helps clarify what they want to achieve and why, which makes them more motivated to take action.
At Lumiant, we use prompts to help us in the form of Values cards. These cards provide a starting point for clients to articulate their values. And, we find the same card can mean completely different things to different people.
Other advisors have used purpose statements or have an exact line of questioning that can help them get to the core of the onion. No matter what tactic you use, by asking great questions, you will not only get better information to develop a personalized financial plan, but you'll also create a transformational experience for your clients.
Don't just ask about finances
Do not restrict yourself to purely financial questions. Asking questions about their lives and values more broadly is more engaging and interesting for the client to discuss. It also enables non-financial clients to participate and clearly articulate their desires. At the end of the day, there's not much in life that doesn't have a monetary cost associated with it.
In fact, we believe this is where you should start. And we also believe you should start by asking questions of non-financial clients first. Not only will this help to differentiate your business but it'll also better engage these clients in the financial planning process and give them a voice in the planning process.
Too often advisors avoid these conversations as they can often feel fluffy. But that's because they are not comfortable probing deeper. The key to great conversations about a client's best life is to sit back, listen, and confirm what you've heard before digging deeper.
Most of the time, you don’t need to provide “therapy” or “counseling” but instead encourage your clients to articulate and align on what their values mean to them. Here are three simple questions you can ask to dig deeper:
What’s important about that to you? What does that mean to you? This question helps you scratch the surface and start to unpack why something is important to the client and the true driving factors behind their statements.
What happened in your life or the life of someone you care about that makes you feel that way? This helps to go the next layer down. It starts to unpack what has happened in their past that might be driving certain behaviors with money.
Tell me something good that’s going on in your life right now. This question taps into flow theory and gets the client in a good flow state of mind - essentially, clients like talking about the positive things in their lives, enabling them to open up more about the more difficult things as the conversation progresses.
So, how can Lumiant help you to maximize the potential of this insight?
Start with Your Life, so you can understand your client's pressing needs and areas where they need support. Ask them questions in relation to what could improve their scores.
Use Lumiant’s Your Values to help clients identify, define and articulate what fulfillment looks like. Your Values includes prompted questions you can ask your clients to uncover the what, why, and how for each value:
What does this value mean to you?
Why did you choose it?
How do we improve your progress for this value?
Lumiant automatically has the non-financial client go first in all its experiences. This ensures they have a voice and allows them to open up to you.
Lumiant's rules for great conversations
No judgment: make sure your clients see your meetings as a safe space. There are no right or wrong answers here.
No interrupting: Ensure everyone freely gets the chance to talk. Prevent couples from talking over one another. Ensure everyone is heard in full, as this will give you better insight into each client.
Have fun with it: Asking great questions shouldn't be seen as a chore. Have fun with it and your clients will too.
Looking for more?
We've spoken to several of our customers to discover how they hold conversations with clients in our podcast Lumiant Live. Check out the episodes below for more information on asking great questions:
Now you've helped your clients articulate what they truly value in life, it's time to bring their desired future to life. Research suggests that the more vivid and clear clients are about their future, the more likely they will change their behavior. And this leads us to Insight Three: From the Clouds to the Street, which we'll tackle in our next blog in this series.
If you enjoyed this article, let us know what you thought by giving it a rating. And feel free to add your insights, learnings, and opinions in the comments below. We’d love to know your top client questions.