partner and co-founder
of Denver, Co.-based
LifeHealthPro.com | November 2016 | Retirement Advisor 15
Over the last several months, I have bro- ken down the process that my brother and I use when we implement educational workshops into our practice, and I hope there
have been some fresh ideas for you to implement.
When I began working as an investment
advisor, I would take on anyone as a client, as
I felt these prospects were the only ones doing
the interviewing in that first meeting. It was not
until I examined my practice and started asking,
“Whom do I really like working with? Whom do I
serve best?” that I realized there was more going
on in these meetings. My brother and I decided
we wanted to build a firm that clearly identified those whom we could serve best and would
enjoy advising over the many years to come.
My goal for the first meeting is to determine
whether I can be of value to the individual. If
you ask the right questions, you can get to this
answer. Bringing value is more than just growing a client’s assets. There is something deeper
you must discover. Answering “yes” to prospective clients is not about how much money they
have. You have to be able to say “NO” to someone who has a $10 million portfolio, because I
have. Maybe it sounds crazy, but this philosophy
has created an extremely successful practice for
my brother and me, as we know whom we serve,
how we serve them and why we serve them.
The very first question I always ask when I
first sit down with someone is, “What brings
you into our office today?” This is about them, to
find out what they would like to accomplish with
the time they have with you. After they have
answered that question, I might have a couple
of follow-up questions to clearly identify their
goals. From there, I let them know I have some
additional questions I would like to go through
with them to make sure we can serve them
best. I do not grab statements or anything else. I
simply try to connect more personally. Below is a
general outline of key areas I like to discuss.
1. Share the same values
a. How do they view money? If all they care
about is their money, then they are not a
fit for our firm. We love to serve those who
believe there is more to life than the size of
b. Do they have a budget or belief in operat-
ing with one? We have found that clients
who believe in a budget allow us to be great
partners with them. If you establish a plan,
but the client does not have the habit or
willpower to follow it, then you and the cli-
ent are not going to succeed in the future.
2. How they view investing
a. Do they want to be hands on? We work
with clients who want us to take on the day-
to-day worries about their financial future.
We have found that the day-trading type
does not fit with whom we serve best.
b. When they think of the stock market, what
are their thoughts? This is a broad but impor-
tant question for you to use to get to know
your potential new client. If they say, “Scary,” or
something along those lines, go deeper and ask
what specifically makes the stock market scary.
3. What their exceptions are
a. Ask about their past experience. This is a very
powerful question if you take the time to dive
deep and listen well. Ask potential clients if they
have had advisors in the past and, if so, what
they did and did not appreciate about what the
advisors did. Spending time here allows poten-
tial clients to tell you what they really want.
a. What kind of returns are they hoping to
achieve in the future to help support their
goals? The more specific, the better.
4. Talk about how you are paid
a. Share how you believe you can help and
explain how you are paid. Every person walk-
ing into your office is asking this question,
so address it in the first meeting. As with any
service, if you are confident about what you do
and bring real value, then be proud of how you
are compensated. If you are fee only or com-
mission only, let potential clients know so that
moving forward the air is clear about this topic.
This is a general outline that we use in our office
to help us identify those we can serve. As always, I
look forward to continuing to share different strat-
egies that will help you grow your practice.
Asking the right
questions is one of the
most important aspects
of running your own firm.