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Ask the right questions


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Your guide to getting the discussion started with clients and prospects.
Your guide to getting the discussion started with clients and prospects.

Knowing what to ask when a new client comes into your office is the first step toward meeting their financial needs and developing a long-term relationship. But asking the right questions means more than just getting details on the client’s finances. Recently, some MDRT members shared the questions they ask to gain an in-depth understanding of how they can help each client.

Getting to know you
  • Where are you from and what was it like growing up?
  • What did you learn about money growing up?
  • What is the hardest lesson you’ve had regarding money?
  • What is the best experience you’ve had regarding money?
  • Is there something important I should know about your money?
  • What is the best investment you ever made?
  • Do you have any political, social or environmental restrictions on your investment choices?
  • What would you do with your time if no one paid you?
Learning about family
  • Tell me a little bit about your extended family, and if you believe any of them will have an impact — either positive or negative — on your future financial plan.
  • Do you anticipate having to provide financial assistance for an ailing parent or grandparent?
  • Do you anticipate an inheritance that may have an impact on your retirement plan?
  • Do you feel any obligation to provide for nieces, nephews or siblings who may be experiencing financial difficulties?
  • Are there any family members with special needs you wish to provide for?
  • Do you have a blended family situation where one of your children stands to inherit more than another and you wish to equalize?
How can I help?
  • What made you come see me?
  • Has anyone ever helped you create a vision for what your financial security looks like?
  • What do you expect from a trusted advisor?
  • Who do you rely on for advice, and why?
  • What do you expect from me?
  • If you or your spouse were not here, how would you like me to counsel them? What would you want me to do?
  • If I could do three things to help you this year, what would they be?
  • If it’s five to 10 years from now, and we look back at our meeting today, what would you have wanted to accomplish financially and with your life?
Talking about risk
  • Does the stock market scare or excite you?
  • In retirement, how much of your income is OK at risk?
  • In retirement, how much of your assets are OK at risk?
  • How much risk is OK on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being conservative and 10 aggressive?

The following MDRT members contributed to this article: Jay M. DeFinis, CLTC; Curtis V. Cloke, LUTCF, RICP; Matthew T. Hoesly, CFP, ChFC; Brent R. Kimball, CFP, ChFC; Steven E. King, ChFC, CLU; Shuhei Ino; Michelle L. Bender, CFP; James J. Silbernagel, LUTCF, CFP; Gregory B. Gagne, ChFC; Alison Murdock.


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