How Not Giving Financial Advice Can Actually Gain You More Clients

Fine-tune your financial advice strategy by listening more and speaking less

Financial AdviceIt seems simple enough – you have a prospective client in your midst and are ready to “wow” them with your experience and knowledge and how it can help them with financial goals. In the world of financial planning, advisors often spend so much time talking about money and investments and giving their own financial advice to their clients that they can forget an important step – listening. What if listening more could not only get you more business, but also more loyal, long-term clients?

Each client who comes to you for financial advice has motivation to increase his or her wealth for a specific purpose. There is a reason behind their desire to invest. For some this reason could be to take care of their family when they pass away. And for others it is meeting a more specific need such as funding retirement, college education for the children, traveling or a wedding. In order to learn about this specific need, and help the client succeed in his or her goal, you must first listen to the client’s desires and concerns.

By speaking less overall, and asking more questions when you do speak, the client will see you are more interested in his or her personal needs rather than selling the latest product or strategy you think could work.

So how do you implement this into your financial planning business?  Here are a few suggestions:

Create the conversation

Let’s say you are about to meet with a new client – you want to make sure you use your time together wisely. One way to do this is by creating an agenda before the meeting. This will give your client an idea of what to expect during the meeting and will help the meeting stay on task. Allow some time before the meeting for your client to add any specific issues they want to discuss into the agenda and move on from there.

Think “open-ended”

When you begin your meeting, stick with open-ended questions that allow your client the time and freedom to talk about their financial situation, current needs, long-term goals, and any concerns or issues they have on their mind.

It may take a little time to get someone confortable to open up, but you can start by asking about the client’s family, current financial situation, and ideas regarding the future (retirement, large purchases, etc.).

While the client is speaking, be sure to take comprehensive notes to refer to later. You can also use these notes in a follow-up letter to reiterate what they are looking for and how you can be of service with your financial advice and strategies.

Assess the situation

Be sure to continually assess the situation when first meeting with the prospective client and pay close attention to his or her body language. If open-ended questions seem to be leading you down a dead-end, or making the client uncomfortable, it is time to change lanes and come back to the questions at a later time.

Sell appropriately

When it does come time to suggest specific products and/or strategies to a client, the products you suggest will show how carefully you listened to the client’s needs and desires.

Something as simple as listening more can truly help you grow your financial planning business. Remember to ask open-ended questions and show a genuine interest in a client’s life and financial goals. Wrap up with a thank you/follow-up note reiterating goals and desires, and suggest products that will specifically help them reach their goals.

To learn more financial planning tips, visit Summit Brokerage Services has been voted the #1 boutique independent broker dealer in the country. Let us show you why! To experience the Summit difference, learn more about our network of independent financial advisors, and begin creating your financial planning documents, visit or call us at (800) 354-5528.


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About Summit Brokerage Services, Inc.

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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