Good Questions Are Better Than Clever Answers

AdviserBlast – Quick Tips to Accelerate Your Practice

In this issue: Ask simple questions which are more impressive than clever repartee.


One of the best ways to make a positive impression on people is to ask them questions about themselves. Think about the last time you were in a situation meeting a lot of new people – who did you come away really liking and feeling that you had made a positive connection with? If you truly consider the circumstances, you’ll probably realize that person asked a lot of questions about you! It is common to think that our clever repartee will impress others, but simply asking some good questions (and listening to the answers) will actually make a bigger impact.

This is a great technique to use to connect with prospects!

Question With Confidence
While obviously you don’t want to make someone you’ve just met feel like he or she is the subject of a police interrogation, you can take a page from the book of television detectives: ask your questions with confidence. When TV cops ask questions, typically their tone of voice conveys calm and self-assurance, they aren’t rushed or distracted, they are in control, and they are not threatened by the person they are talking with.

It’s great to visualize yourself at a networking function and imagine potential conversations in your head, but if you’re shy or find you get nervous talking to new people, you might want to practice actually saying some of your “tell me about yourself” questions out loud before the event begins. If you’ve heard the words come out of your mouth before, it will feel much more comfortable and natural when you say those same words to a new acquaintance.

Be Direct
Good questions quickly get you the primary information you ultimately want to know, which in a prospecting environment is: “Would this person be good for me to work with?”

Even if a potential client tells you he is already working with another financial adviser, don’t let this stop you digging further and getting to know him! Ask direct questions about the person’s plans, goals, and dreams. You’ll get to know him better, and he will likely esteem you because you asked such thought-provoking questions and gave him a chance to talk about what really matters to him.

I hear some of you asking, “Aren’t those types of questions pretty personal to be asking someone I just met?” Not at all! Some of the greatest interviewers (think Larry King or Barbara Walters) ask blunt questions that cut to the heart of the matter, and people are eager to answer them! You’ll not only get to know your prospect quickly, you’ll also gain clarity around key issues that will tell you if this person might be a good fit for your services. You may even get him thinking about how his current adviser doesn’t know any of these things about him and how you might be a better adviser whom he would prefer to work with!

Recently after speaking to a group of financial services professionals, an audience member wanted to talk with me about her ideas for building her business. She asked a question about the executive coaching I do and then mentioned she was working with a coach. It would have been easy to politely ask her how it was going and how she was benefiting from her work with her coach. Instead, I immediately began asking her questions I ask advisers who have expressed interest in working with me, such as what her biggest challenges are, if she knows where she wants her practice to be in two years, and what her two biggest distractions are that prevent her from moving forward faster. I certainly wasn’t being negative about her existing coach (in fact we didn’t even talk about him), but I also didn’t want to ask questions which basically led her to focus more on them. At the same time, I could show her I understood some of her real issues and had heard her personal concerns.

Great questions position you as the expert in your field. Ask confidently and directly, and LISTEN to the person’s responses. Then, when you know a bit about their situation, you might be able to suggest a helpful idea or two. Show the person you’re keen to help, and they’ll remember you for it. You might even gain a new client!

Don’t be afraid to ask!

Copyright Paul Kingsman 2011


As a motivational speaker and executive coach, Paul Kingsman helps financial services professionals successfully grow their businesses by taking practical daily steps to achieve outstanding long-term results. Combining his experiences as an Olympic medalist and his background as an adviser, Paul understands how to stay focused over the long haul, as well as the unique business challenges faced by advisers. Through his professional speaking and executive coaching he equips them to overcome distractions so they can get the money they need, the clients they want, and the time to do what they love.

To find out more about how Paul can equip you or your team to achieve outstanding results, visit or email him at

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