Are You Fact-Finding or Trust-Building in Your Sales Conversations?

Almost every Financial Advisor has been taught, before you do anything, you must ask fact finding questions about your potential new client’s financial situation.

The traditional sales formula looks like this:

Qualify the lead + Present your solution = New Paying Client

That’s basic selling 101 isn’t?

But if this formula, which has been taught by the “sales gurus” for decades, is bulletproof, then why doesn’t every single person who is qualified, become a new paying client?

What is the missing piece of this puzzle, that causes you to lose people who check all the boxes of what your ideal client looks like?

It’s called “trust-building”, and it needs to happen before the qualification process.

Unless you create deep trust first, any qualification process will make your potential client feel you only want to know if they’ll buy your services.

In their mind, if they qualify, then they’re going to expect you to start selling your services.

But before you say: “I know how to build relationships Ari”, hold your horses.

Building trust in a sales context does not mean building a relationship with your potential client, the two are not the same.

Building a relationship is about building rapport… which is often not effective for solving problems. In fact, how many times does being friendly and agreeable get in the way of telling someone what they need to hear?

Building trust with your potential client is about what I call “going down the iceberg”.

Going down the iceberg as a Financial Advisor means helping your potential client understand the gravity of their situation, and the implications of not addressing it.

It’s an iceberg because the implications are often much larger than they realize.

Doing this eloquently but with humble firmness, like a doctor speaks to a patient, is how you create the clarity and trust they need from you, to respond to you with:

“How can you help me?”

When you hear that phrase or something like it, there is no need to ask more questions.


Because you’ve given them a depth of understanding they would never have received from other advisors, who are conditioned to use only the traditional sales formula.

Here are some questions you can ask to go down the iceberg:

You: “Can you tell me a little about your background, your situation and your biggest financial concerns?”

Note: Listen carefully to their concerns.

You: “You mentioned xxx is a concern, can you tell me a little bit more about that?

Note: Lower your voice when you say this, like a doctor with warmth and bedside manner

You: “How long have you been concerned about that?”

You: “What have you done so far to try and solve it?”

You: “How has not solving these issues impacted you?”

You: “Is this a priority for you to solve as soon as possible?”

These are not fact-finding questions, they are trust-building questions to help them feel that you care about them.

Surprisingly, a feeling of deep trust is often never created between Financial Advisors and new potential clients in their initial conversation.

Concentrate on building trust by going down the iceberg with your potential clients, instead of educating them on your solutions.

You’ll be surprised at how many new clients jump on board with you, and even pay you a planning fee, simply because your approach was so different from every other advisor they’ve spoken with.

Related: What Business Are You Really In?