The 360 Discovery approach is comprehensive and intended to be an investment in the relationship. Because of the time commitment, it is best suited for use with engaged clients who have essentially hired you as their advisor.
But there are certain areas of 360 Discovery that can be used in the prospect conversation to determine a mutual “fit” — for you and your prospective client.
These five questions can help you pre-qualify a prospective client:
- Tell me about your financial situation. This question will illuminate their current situation, what brought them to you, etc.
- What are you looking for an advisor to do for you? Gives you a sense of their expectations and how they’ve utilized advisors in the past.
- What are your major concerns for the next 1, 3 and future years? Not a financial question — more understanding of their broader life situation.
- What do you worry most about when you think about your money? This gives you a quick sense of their risk tolerance without going into the questionnaire process.
- Why did you come to us for help? You’re trying to determine whether the service you offer is an appropriate fit. You’ll want to find out who referred them, get clarity about their beliefs/perceptions of you and ensure they understand the value you bring.
According to Leo Pusateri of Pusateri Consulting, there are generally seven things a prospective client wants to know about you:
- Who are you?
- What do you do?
- Why do you do what you do?
- How do you do it?
- Who else have you done it for?
- What makes you different?
- Why should they do business with you?
The prospect-advisor discussion is very similar to a job candidate interviewing for a position. You’re both interviewing each other to determine fit and establish a fee-based relationship.
Asking open-ended questions can really open up the dialogue and begin a conversation that can segue nicely into a more formalized 360 Discovery meeting — once the client has agreed to hire you as their advisor.