7 Truths Advisors Can’t Ever Admit To Clients Turned Into Questions They’ll Love To Answer


Last Updated on July 20, 2020 by Carolyn McRae

You can’t admit it. But want to.

Saying it out loud sounds so bad, even though your intentions are good and the outcome would be great. So the truth goes unsaid, makes a permanent home in your churning thoughts. You’ll just wait until “the perfect moment” finally comes along when you can naturally bring ‘It’ up to your client.

But when will that moment of truth come?

Leaving awkward-yet-important conversations to “happen naturally” is fine, but you really can free yourself now.

Identify the thing you really want to say, then consider how these leading questions can help open that discussion. Here are a few common truths that may feel better left unsaid, and suggestions for how to spin it into a conversation with your client.

You want to say: I feel like we haven’t spoken in forever.

Start with: What’s been on your mind lately?

There’s probably some relationship mending to do here. If you feel like you haven’t spoken with a client in a while, you can be certain they feel the same about you. This can be scary territory. Take a good chunk of time before diving into anything on your list of meeting to-do’s and get caught up on their life. Make them feel heard and understood. Next, put a process in place to keep regular communication moving forward, showing your client that you acknowledge the issue and care enough to propose a solution. (If you need help, our client engagement platform equips advisors with tools to automate this. Ask about it here.)

You want to say: I still need to get to know you as a person.

Start with: Do you have time to grab a coffee (or beer) after this?

Try to chat with the client outside of designated “meeting time”. While you may feel confident in your ability to get clients to open up during meetings, a casual environment is more conducive to getting to know them on a truly personal level. They’re probably on their best behavior during a scheduled meeting, but grabbing a drink and chatting about sports, family, vacations, LIFE… could really help you achieve this goal.

You want to say: I keep up-to-date on what’s going on in the news, so trust that I’m aware.

Start with: What’s the word on the street about (insert hot topic)?

If you want to sound topical, well, bring up a hot topic. They key, however, is to do it in a conversational way like this. Don’t give any one story too much attention or power, as we all know how most financially scandalous news becomes irrelevant over time and you don’t want your clients to put too much weight on any one story. Which leads us to…

You want to say: I wish you’d stop freaking out about short-term market performance.

Start with: Did you notice your hard work has earned you xx% growth over the past 4 years?

Reminding clients about their long-term progress can help calm short-term worries. Have clients who tend to struggle with this? Check out how to combat the CNBC effect.

You want to say: I’d like you to refer me to a friend.

Start with: Did you know you could share your online portal with your accountant and lawyer?

I know, this may sound like it comes from left field, but it’s actually quite powerful. Connecting with your clients’ other advisors helps you establish strong relationships with the professionals who can send you boat loads of referrals. And getting them to share their portal with these folks is a key first step. While client referrals are nice (when they actually happen), they’re unpredictable and advisors have told us they’re often low quality matches. Instead, pose this question to be helpful and become a COI – “center of influence” – referrer. It’s a concept we talked about in one of our past whitepapers if you’d like to learn more.

You want to say: If you bring all your “other” assets over to me, I could really help you with this.

Start with: Could you update me on what “your number” is now?

An inability to recall their total net worth at the drop of a hat proves one of their most basic financial needs has not been met. You can be the help they need. Demonstrate how your account aggregation technology makes it incredibly easy for clients to sync held-away assets to their client portal, giving them a snapshot of “their number” any moment they want it. If you haven’t already guessed, Blueleaf does this. – Related reading: Getting Clients to Go “All In” With Held-Away Assets

You want to say: I’m considering new software and am worried you may not like it.

Start with: Can you explain your current process of (doing x)? What’s annoying about that?

Focus on how they currently handle the thing you hope a new system will help them with. By getting clients to discuss their challenges and frustrations you’ll be in a much better position to think clearly about how this new tool can help solve those issues. – Related: How To Introduce New Technology To Your Clients

Other things you really want to say, but not sure how? Admit it in the comments below and get help turning it into something a client would love to hear.


  • Carolyn McRae

    Carolyn is Blueleaf's in-house marketing guru. She writes on The Blueleaf Blog to make advisors' lives easier, offering practice management and client engagement tips where and when they're useful. Outside of the Blueleaf offices, she can be found running a 10k or cooking her famous chili. Chat LIVE with Carolyn on Twitter @BlueleafAdvisor!

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Carolyn is Blueleaf’s in-house marketing guru. She writes on The Blueleaf Blog to make advisors’ lives easier, offering practice management and client engagement tips where and when they’re useful. Outside of the Blueleaf offices, she can be found running a 10k or cooking her famous chili. Chat LIVE with Carolyn on Twitter @BlueleafAdvisor!
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