Extending the Fact Find

Extending the Fact FindIf you look at the Financial Planners Handbook, you will see listed as “Step 1” is Fact Find. While the Fact Find questionnaire exists in many formats, and at various lengths, they are all designed to provide a snapshot of the Clients’ current financial situation, so that a Financial Planner can offer a Financial Planning Solution. The question is, “Do current Fact Find Questionnaires go far enough?”

To uncover the answer, just look at your results. Every Financial Advisor can easily divide the appointments they have with clients into 2 categories; Maintenance and Sales. Just count your Sales appointments, then divide those by the number of sales you make… Simple. If you are closing any less than 70% of your appointments, then you are NOT operating with all of the facts. So, what facts are you missing.

Once you are in the business long enough to call yourself a veteran, you have seen it all and heard it all, and this makes it easier to understand the facts you are missing. Have you ever had a client say “I can’t afford it”? Of course you have! Clients say this when they have higher levels of debt with the accompanying monthly payments that they didn’t tell you about… because the Fact Find didn’t ask, or they just left that section blank. Some of the other fan favorites are “I’m comfortable with my investment deposits where they are”, as well as the common “We have enough Insurance”. We know the lines, but what is the common thread?

Extending the Fact Find

While some of these are not objections nor excuses and are 100% truthful reasons, many of them are a way to prevent the client from telling you the truth. Remember, 30% of your clients will have a valid reason for not buying. The others are looking at your proposal and thinking the same thought… “How can I add to my monthly payments?” Most of the issues blocking the continued implementation of a Financial Plan are related to cashflow! So how do you get the correct information about a clients’ cashflow?

The first place to start with a cashflow analysis is to ask the clients for their Credit Report. The credit report will have all of the debt information on it. All loans have the monthly payment listed, credit cards are usually 3% of the outstanding balance, and Lines of Credit are usually either 1% or interest only. Adding this information to your Fact Find, and building a cashflow analysis may lead to a debt solution first to improve cashflow, and then you will be able to implement the next step of the Financial Plan.

When the client says “No”, it just means that you didn’t collect enough information from your Fact Find to solve their most immediate problem or concern. Don’t stop, just ask for the outstanding information.

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