You have a meeting with your branch manager to discuss business planning. Here are some tips on how to answer common questions.

Read: 5 ways to beat a prospecting slump

What will be your primary source of new accounts in 2014?

Good answer“Referrals. I remind clients I’m adding new ones to my practice. I’ve learned it takes time for the message to sink in, so I ask them several times throughout the year. I outline specific scenarios and ask if they know anyone in a similar situation.”

Bad answer “I would certainly look for new clients if I had the time. Unfortunately most of the day is spent servicing the clients I have and completing all the paperwork you want done immediately. If I had more sales support I could find time to look for new clients. So what are you going to do about it?”

What’s your strategy to get referrals from current clients?

Good answer“I have a proactive referral strategy. Every client gets a face-to-face portfolio review during the first quarter. If they’re at a distance, I do it by phone. I ask who they know that hasn’t had as good a year.”

Bad Answer“Sure, I do referrals. I don’t bug them about it. I don’t want to come across as desperate. They know I do a good job for them. If they want to send someone my way and introduce me personally, I’ll be glad to help.”

What’s your strategy for cross-selling banking products to your client base?

Good Answer“We do a great job helping them manage their investments. Why shouldn’t we have the opportunity to do the same delivering a service they’re going to buy anyway? I raise their awareness about what we offer and who can help.”

Bad Answer“I’m a financial advisor, not a banker. Mortgages are complicated. Clients get turned down. That creates bad will. If they want a mortgage they can find it on their own.”

Read: Send prospects the right signals

How do you feel about walk-ins, when you are the “broker of the day?”

Good Answer“One of our team members takes our slot when it’s our turn. Sometimes we get business, sometimes we don’t. You never know.”

Bad Answer“It’s a waste of time. The people who come in have an account in another of our offices or have stupid problems. It ties me up. I haven’t participated for two years and I’m not starting now.”

What’s your prospecting strategy?

Good Answer – “I have a list of 100 key people I’d like to have as clients. They live in the area and we belong to the same organizations. They also form the core of my seminar prospect list, which I supplement with leads and referrals.”

Bad Answer – “Why don’t you give me one of those new kids you hired? They can do cold calling for me.”

What about clients you lost last year? Any chance some will come back?

Good Answer – “I call each lost client three months later. I acknowledge they had their reasons for leaving. I explain I enjoyed working with them and wanted to follow up and confirm everything worked out the way they hoped. I remind them they were an important client and I was sorry to lose them. One couple has said they want to get together and talk.”

Bad Answer – “Those idiots? Good riddance! I’m glad they left. We didn’t see eye to eye. They didn’t understand what I was doing for them. They thought everything that went wrong was my fault.”

Have you considered implementing your own investment strategy, once it’s been approved by compliance?

Good Answer – “Truthfully, no. I’m a relationship manager. Proper asset allocation accounts for most of a client’s return. I let professional money managers do the trading. I focus on keeping them happy and their allocation in proper balance.”

Read: Compliance roundup – February 2014

Bad Answer – “Yes. I would like that a lot. The problem is the compliance people are always giving me problems and won’t approve. They don’t understand strategies are fluid and what worked in the past might not be right now. Besides, my clients don’t understand just how smart I really am.”

As a firm we’re driving strategies like financial planning and managed money. Are you participating?

Good Answer – “Everyone coming through the door completes a plan or is at least offered a plan. I understand plans yield risk tolerances, which determine asset allocation. I gave up stock picking years ago. New money is managed money.”

Bad Answer – “I don’t do that stuff. I’ve been trading stocks for years. That’s what my clients want. We’ve got a relationship that works. Why rock the boat?”

What about your friends? Have you ever asked them to do business?

Good Answer“I ask. If they say no, that’s fine. If they agree, we go into the relationship together with mutually understood expectations.”

Bad Answer“I never do business with friends. They bring up business when I’m trying to relax and have a good time. Family occasions can get sticky, especially if they’ve lost money. They just don’t understand it’s not my fault when that happens.”

Read: Doing business with friends

Bryce Sanders is President of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc. in New Hope, PA. His book “Captivating the Wealthy Investor” is available on
Originally published on

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