Best Practices for Qualifying Potential Clients

Curious how to qualify a prospective client? Learn easy these techniques!

Qualifying Potential ClientsFor every independent financial advisor, the time eventually comes when the following question is asked: “A potential client seemed extremely interested and now is not responding – what happened?” There are many reasons why a qualifying potential clients may go awry. Over the past few months, the changing political and economic landscape has been a factor in some cases. And in other cases, it may be one of the following reasons:

  • Perhaps you mistook their seeming excitement as sincere interest.
  • Hard questions were not asked in your initial contact to ensure a next move.
  • The potential client found another advisor to work with and only initiated a conversation with you to compare information.
  • The potential client is not experiencing a dire financial situation that would warrant action on his or her part.

These, of course, are just a few examples. There are many reasons a prospect can go cold, so what are the best tips for qualifying potential clients? First, you should have several questions committed to memory that can help you deliver a qualification conversation with your prospect. Questions and/or statements may include something along the lines of:

  1. Give me a snapshot of your current financial situation. This type of statement is open-ended and offers the prospect the opportunity to share information that allows you to move forward with other questions.
  1. What do you want an independent financial advisor to do for you? If you have a better idea of the financial problems or goals the prospect is hoping to solve or meet, you will have a good idea if this is a client you want to enter into a relationship with.
  1. What concerns you the most when you think about your finances?
  1. What are you looking for in a financial advisor? Again, this could offer key information regarding the level of relationship a prospect is seeking in an advisor.

Now that you know which questions to ask regarding how to qualify a prospective client, it is important to wrap up your discussion by divvying up follow-ups between you and the client. Assign some to-dos for both the client and yourself, which takes the follow-up pressure solely off of you (and is less likely to put you in a scenario of having a non-responding prospect). You can ask the prospective client to research something, answer an email questionnaire, send you additional information, etc. Whatever you choose, initiating the prospective client to take action instead of waiting on you will help you determine how engaged he/she truly is in the financial advising process.

It is often been said that qualifying potential clients is an art, and with good reason. Practice regularly and if you are not seeing the results you desire, change your strategy, questioning, and follow-up techniques. To learn more regarding how to qualify prospective clients, visit

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Summit Brokerage Services is part of Cetera Financial Group. Summit Brokerage provides a broad range of securities brokerage and investment services to primarily individual investors. Summit Brokerage also sells insurance products, predominantly fixed and variable annuities and life insurance through its subsidiary, SBS Insurance Agency of Florida. Summit Brokerage also provides asset management services through its investment advisor, Summit Financial Group, Inc.


About Cetera Financial Group

Cetera Financial Group® (“Cetera”) is a leading network of independent retail broker-dealers empowering the delivery of objective financial planning advice to individuals, families and company retirement plans across the country through trusted financial advisors and financial institutions.  Cetera is the second-largest independent financial advisor network in the nation by number of advisors, as well as a leading provider of retail services to the investment programs of banks and credit unions.

Through its multiple distinct firms, Cetera offers independent and institutions-based advisors the benefits of a large, established broker-dealer and registered investment adviser, while serving advisors and institutions in a way that is customized to their needs and aspirations.  Independent financial advisor support resources offered through Cetera include award-winning wealth management and financial planning and advisory platforms, comprehensive broker-dealer and registered investment adviser services, practice management support and innovative technology.  For more information, visit

*”Cetera Financial Group” refers to the network of retail independent broker-dealers encompassing, among others, Cetera Advisors, Cetera Advisor Networks, Cetera Financial Institutions, Cetera Financial Specialists, First Allied Securities, Girard Securities, The Legend Group and Summit Brokerage Services.

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