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  • Writer's pictureSuzanne Wagner

"Why, why, why, why, why?"

Updated: Sep 23, 2019

On asking questions like a 4-year-old

I've recently been enjoying articles on the website, "Financial Advisor IQ." Reading these gives me great insight when writing for financial advisors and their clients, which helps me do my job better. One headline that sparked my interest was, "What's your client's real question?"

The author, the founder of a Philadelphia wealth planning/investment firm, discovered that clients often ask questions that are easy to answer with a yes or no. "Can I afford to do XYZ without compromising my retirement savings?" But when he digs deeper and gets to know the family's underlying emotional needs, he can offer solutions they wouldn't have thought of themselves.

He says, "It can be tempting for advisors to give their clients purely technical answers to their problems: Yes, you can afford to take this trip, or give this money away, or buy this house. However, when we don’t dig into the deeper issues, we’re doing our clients a disservice."

Well, that sounds familiar!

When we as creative solution providers dig deeper, we always come up with something better. I talk about asking "Why" a lot. When a client says they want an email that talks about a particular product, I ask, "Why?" And when they answer that it's relevant to the audience, I ask, "Why?" Eventually, with a few more "whys," you can get to the meat of the matter and deliver stronger, smarter, more results-driving creative solutions that connect emotionally with the audience.

And, no surprise, that's exactly what the author says: "When a client presents me with a problem or a question, I just keep asking why. Eventually, I learn more about the heart of the issue."

So, if your responsibilities include delivering creative solutions, I say, "Go forth and act like a 4-year-old. Don't stop asking why."

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