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How good are your probing skills? Can you read clients’ thoughts or are you just listening to their words? Probing is the most important part of the process of gaining new clients. The better you probe, the less you have to close. The better you probe, the less need to prospect because your closing rate gets better.

But if you are like most advisors, you blindly accept responses to your questions and the musings of your clients.

John, a successful advisor, greeted a new prospective client to a “fit” virtual appointment. He hoped to interest them enough to pay a planning fee and move to the next phase of implementing a financial plan. After some initial pleasantries, John asked what their retirement goals were. The couple said they were worried about running out of money and the volatility of the past year.

John knew enough to qualify the couple and asked if there were working with another advisor. They said “yes.” He asked when they last spoke to the advisor. The husband looked up at the ceiling and said, “Not for a long time.” John finished the rest of the meeting and asked if the couple wanted to proceed. The husband responded, “Let us go think about it and we will get back to you,”