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Financial advisors can look to the health care industry for a lesson on interacting with clients

When a financial advisory team from Long Beach, California-based Halbert Halgrove heard Jeff Belkora speak at a conference in 2013 about SLCT, the interview protocol he designed to stimulate patient disclosure in health care practices, they knew they had found something of great importance to them.

Halbert Hargrove has always made an effort to focus on its clients’ thoughts, feelings, needs and goals, said Kelli Kiemle, director of marketing and client experience for Halbert Hargrove. Belkora’s methodical approach has been proven to increase patient introspection and satisfaction and decrease anxiety, distress and regret. In a financial planning setting, it offered the team the perfect template to elicit clients’ goals and needs, and understand their thought processes prior to addressing them – something she said is not that easy to do.

“The essence of SLCT is that it is completely client driven,” Kiemle said. “The first question we always ask when we start the interview is how the client was referred to our firm, what are their needs, their concerns and worries, and what their goals are. This sets the foundation for the client-driven conversation to continue.”

The inclusion of generic questions — “you said you have three children; what should we know about them?” — helps uncover issues that are important but that may not be at the forefront of a client’s mind when it comes to financial planning, Kiemle said.

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