Why it pays to be curious 


5 minutes  
Date: 28 November 2019
Take outs
  • Curiosity means asking questions to build personal connections
  • Advisers often masquerade statements as questions
  • Dig for gold mines in order to make the right decisions

Advisers must remember to embrace curiosity on a daily basis a value that is being lost in an environment of increasing globalisation and social media pressures.

In its webinar, ‘Learn how to master the art of storyselling’, Netwealth spoke to Eleece Quilliam from Invesco Consulting about how advisers can use stories to assist client’s confidence in you and quicken their decision making to proceed with your advice.

Storyselling is a sales method used by highly-effective advisers to transform advice jargon into compelling, engaging and persuasive stories that have the potential to develop loyal and confident clients. 

By using metaphors, analogies, anecdotes and illustrations, advisers can better serve their clients’ financial needs and sell more effectively in the process.

However, recognising that not everyone is a natural storyteller, Eleece explains that advisers can always use their innate curiosity to their advantage.

Try to find commonalities

According to Eleece, “Commonality is the most important thing to start with when you're talking with a client.”

She explains that there is a natural order to curiosity that almost always starts with discovering a commonality or a mutual connection. This is incredibly important before you move towards illustrating investment concepts.

“When we find somebody that's made a similar decision to us - they holiday in the same spot as us, kids go to the same school, they support the same sports team - whatever the commonality is, we automatically draw the conclusion that they must be a good person too, and it's worthy of continuing a relationship or conversation with them,” she says.

“From a psychological point of view, it is incredibly important to establish some mutual connection or commonality with a client before you ever want to start talking about collecting of information or anything else.”

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Ask genuine questions

The quality of the answers you receive will depend on the style of questions you ask.

However, Eleece points out advisers are often guilty of masquerading statements as questions.

“An example of this is if an adviser says to their client, “If I could show you something that could dampen volatility and give you a return of a yield of 5%, would you be interested in that?” Now to me, that's not a question, that's a statement. It's masquerading as a question.”

“Instead, we need to make sure that the questions we are asking are genuine questions that we actually don't know the answer to.”

Eleece suggests advisers need to “dig for gold mines” by asking questions that are vital in helping you to uncover the choices you should be making for your clients.

Eleece acknowledges that some questions may lead to some uncomfortable discoveries, but these can help you ascertain the type of investments an individual may be tilted towards or want to avoid. 

“Sometimes we need to step on landmines to be able to know to avoid them,” she adds.

To make the process easier, Eleece suggests you try out the following 10 questions when getting to know your client for the first time:

  1. Where are you from, and what did you like about living there?
  2. Outside of work, what consumes most of your time?
  3. What was your first experience when you learned the value of money?
  4. What is your life’s work?
  5. What is the best financial decision you’ve ever made?
  6. What principles do you follow with your money?
  7. Are there any investments you would avoid as a matter of principle?
  8. What do you want your money to do for you?
  9. What other people have you assumed some financial responsibility for?
  10. What do you expect from an adviser?

While Eleece admits that some of these questions may not suit everyone’s client base, they are a collection of what Invesco Consulting has found works best during its extensive research into this topic.

Does your office tell a story?

To help you in your quest to utilise curiosity to your benefit and familiarise yourself with your client, Eleece also suggests personalising your office.

“Use your office to your advantage. Put up photos of your family, your cats, your dogs, your pets. What will happen is that you’ll be having more and more conversations about the photos,” she says.

“Hobbies. If you play golf, if you play hockey, if you play a sport, if you like race cars, whatever it is, put something in your office that allows connections to be made with your clients around hobbies. Same with education – include a certificate of where you graduated if you have one.”

And for those that don’t have the ability to use an office space, Eleece suggests having your phone screen background of something interesting or sticking photos to your folder.


Eleece reiterates that clients are thirsty for human interaction.

“It is a human emotion that needs to be met,” she adds.

By asking genuine questions and encouraging an instant connection, curiosity can help you achieve this with your clients

Learn more

Listen to the Netwealth webinar, ‘Learn how to master the art of storyselling’, for more insights into how stories can engage prospects and clients and build their confidence with you.

Views expressed are of the interviewee and may not be the opinion of Netwealth or its related companies.

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