partner and co-founder
of Denver, Co.-based
LifeHealthPro.com | February 2016 | Retirement Advisor 17
What questions are
you asking your clients,
to find their pain?
Go to this article on
to join the discussion.
For the last six months, I have been practicing Krav Maga, which is a rather intense self-defense system used to train
Israeli special forces. For someone at the age of
41 who has not worked out in the last several
years, this statement has never been more true:
“Without pain there is no gain.” In fact, when
I sparred for the first time, I left with cracked
ribs and a bit of a reality check.
Building your practice and connecting with
new potential clients does not involve you
cracking your ribs or doing 100 push-ups, but
you do need to understand the current pain
they are feeling, or pain they may not be aware
of. When a prospect comes into your office
this must always be the starting point of the
conversation, not the benefits of your firm and
working with you. If you want to gain clients,
then you must understand their pain.
My motivation for taking up Krav Maga was
to push myself to be uncomfortable and find
new personal limits. For me, the pain of regret
finally reached a point where I had to take action, and now I am so glad I did.
Here are a few questions for you to think about
as you approach your next business meetings to
help you find the pain to gain clients.
1. What is the pain?
The prospect is in your office for a reason, and
finding out why sooner rather than later will
bring dividends as you are starting this new relationship. Everyone wants to be in a relationship where the other person says, “They really
understand where I am coming from.” This
happens only when someone is asking great
questions and does minimal talking.
The classic approach to this is to establish some
2. How much pain are they in?
rapport and then simply jump into the ques-
tion, “Mr. Jones, what brings you into my office
today?” If this leads to an answer of, “Just want
to know more about your services and what you
do,” then you know you have a lot more work to
do to find out the prospect’s true motivation for
being there. Another prospect may say, “I am here
because I feel that I am paying a lot in fees and
taking more risk than I am comfortable with. I
simply want to know what other solutions may
be available for my situation.” That is the type
of response you are looking for! I call this the
“anchor answer.” This is what I must focus on to
see if I can help this investor. But getting to this
answer is just the beginning.
General pain does not mean much. We need to
make clear the impact of the pain. A client who
believes he has high fees and is not getting the return he desires becomes the point on which you
want to focus. If the prospect is paying $5,000
per year in fees and you know that you could save
him $2,000 per year in fees with less risk, focus
on helping him understand the implications of
this pain: “Mr. Jones, I see that by making some
simple changes to your situation, we could save
you approximately $20,000 over the next 10
years and reduce your risk at the same time.”
You want to show that the pain is significant.
You then want to take the quantifiable pain and
frame it as an opportunity cost for the prospect.
Ask him what he would do if he had an extra
$20,000 in his pocket over the next 10 years. This
is really where you begin to see your prospects
feel that you have an answer for their pain.
3. Do they want the pain to go away?
As silly as it may sound, you must ask your
prospects if they want the pain to go away. In
client meetings, once I have established the
pain and that I can help make it go away, I must
now find out if that is what they really want. All
of us have had meetings where you know you
can help the client and that they need help, but
for some reason they honestly do not want to
be helped. You must ask simply and directly,
“Mr. Jones, is this a problem that you would
like to have go away?” By not asking, you really
never get that full commitment and you leave
room for the prospect to take no action with
Without pain, there is no gain…
If your prospects do not
feel and understand
their pain, you will not
gain them as a client,
so remember to:
• Find the pain
• Quantify the pain
• Ask permission
to fix it