How Fact-Finding Questions Break Trust

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Are you being hired based on the facts you collect and provide or on how your prospects feel about you? It’s the quintessential question advisors face. A typical initial meeting with a new potential client usually starts off with something like this: “Hi, my name is... we are a... and we provide...” and proceeds with questions like, “What’s your background?”, “How many kids do you have?”, “When do you want to retire?”, “How much cash or stocks/bonds do you have?” etc.

These are good questions if you like filling out forms.

Most advisors have been told to have any chance of being selected by a potential client, they need to build a relationship first.

That is interpreted as proactively creating friendly rapport and getting to know your prospects personally.

There are two major problems with this:

  1. A relationship can only be built after the prospect becomes a client – because they’re with you for a much longer time, than they are during your pre-sale process (real and authentic relationships take a longer time to create).
  2. You need to build real trust – creating rapport is only satisfying expected social norms.