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10 questions to help find out what clients really think of you as an adviser

Featured: Business mentor David J Scarlett provides 10 key questions to help delve down into how clients see your firm and what they really think of you as an adviser

Advisers need to know first what clients think of the business and the adviser/owner running that business, and then they need to know what clients think of the quality of the service that the business is delivering.

What I suggest my clients do, and it was something I practiced when I was a financial adviser, is to set aside time with key clients and introducers for a research interview – and by that I mean, call up those people and ask them to give you advice and counsel. It’s interesting that most clients are mature enough to be receptive to this and when they learn that it’s about you wanting to better your own business they will agree to sit down with you.

This isn’t a quick and easy interview. It takes about an hour to 90 minutes and it involves a series of questions, which I’ve developed and scripted over the years, to find out whether what you believe people may think about your business is actually the way they see it, and what you think your business is doing is what it is really doing.

There are 10 key questions I suggest business owners ask of their clients and introducers as part of the series of questions in a seven-step research process. Those questions are:

1. Why did you engage us as your advisers?

2. What’s caused you to continue that relationship?

3. What do you think our business does best?

4. What impact do you feel our business and the service we’ve delivered to you over the years has had not just on your money but on your life, and the lives of those you’ve very graciously introduced to us over the years?

5. What do you think we stand for, believe in and are trying to excel in?

This last question tends to throw people but if you sit with them long enough and hold them to that question, they will answer you and in my experience, you’ll be both interested and often surprised by what they tell you. It may not be what you’d want them to think.

The next set of questions is when you get to the heart and soul of what’s going on inside them not inside you. What I teach my clients to ask is this – although they can put it in their own words if they wish:

6. If you were me, and you were running this business, what would you do differently?

7. If you were me, what would you do less of?

8. Is there anything you would do more of or that I don’t yet do?

Then you go to the next stage. You have to go slowly and be patient as you’re asking people to wrestle with quite intimate and unusual questions.

9. If we could provide any other service to you, no matter how wildly different it may sound, what would that service be?

Then you shut up and wait for an answer. And sometimes you don’t get an answer because that person can’t handle the question. But sometimes you get some really interesting responses.

The final question goes quite deep:

10. What would you really, really, really like us to help you to do in your life – if I had a magic wand and I could do anything?

In practice, this seemingly simple question, when asked of advisers, completely throws them. And it does the same to clients and introducers.

The reason I teach advisers to ask this question is, if you don’t know what your client really, really, really wants in their life then what are you doing playing with their money? Because their money is one of the tools that should help them get what they really want. If you don’t understand the answer to that question, then technically you may be doing  a brilliant job, you may save them tax but here’s my question, what are you doing it for? What are they doing it for? Why are they spending time with you doing all this stuff with money if it doesn’t help them get what they really want in life?

When you do this research, you’ll find these are questions most clients and introducers have never been asked. They are incredibly memorable and they won’t forget them.

An extract from the original interview and article: 10 key questions to find out what clients really think of you



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