Asking Clients Better Questions = More And Better Relationships

February 21, 2018 • Steve Sanduski /

Editor’s Note: This article is based on Steve Sanduski’s podcast interview with Elliot Berkman, associate professor of psychology at the University of Oregon. To access more than 100 interviews with industry leaders, subscribe for free to Steve’s podcast, Between Now and Success by clicking here.

Asking better questions, instead of immediately jumping to problem solving, is more important than ever in our industry.

As technology continues to evolve, it is automating some of the work that advisors have historically been paid for. And the leading advisors are asking themselves what they can offer to clients that will not be made obsolete by technology. Empathy, creativity and imagination are certainly near the top of that list. But there’s one thing that every advisor can engage in right now that clients will immediately value.

Advisors can ask better questions to uncover their client’s values and motivations that drive their desired behavior.

With this info, you can put a plan together that not only meets the client’s financial needs, but their emotional ones too.

To explore the science behind behaviors, motivations and goal-setting, I talked Dr. Elliot Berkman on my podcast. He is a tenured associate professor of psychology at the University of Oregon, where he directs the Social and Effective Neuroscience Laboratory and conducts field-leading, federally funded research on goals, motivation and behavior change. He’s also the associate director of the Center for Translational Neuroscience, and an author who writes about psychology and neuroscience for lay audiences, including in Psychology Today.

We discussed how new technology is allowing researchers to learn more about how we make decisions and what drives our behavior. And with this understanding, we can ask better questions that lead to insights and ultimately to the desired behavior.

What Is “Value” To You?

Berkman and other researchers have used the latest technology to observe how the brain reacts to different stimuli, and even pinpoint which parts of the brain control certain activities and behaviors. For example, imagine being able to “see” where depression resides in the brain and curing it with neurostimulation, or a pill that cures procrastination.

Ah, if we could only prescribe a pill for our clients that would ensure they engage in “good” financial behavior!…

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