"It sounds like you are facing a real challenge."

"I can understand your frustration with this situation."

"You sound concerned about meeting the deadline."

Clarification. Ask clarifying questions any time clients' emotions are unclear as they attempt to communication their concerns. Clarifying questions are likely to be "open questions." For example, "Why do you say that?" or, "Help me understand why you feel ..." or, "Could you please describe your feelings in more detail?" By asking these types of questions, you eliminate confusion by obtaining the correct information right away.

Confirmation. Following the acknowledgement (or understanding) of client concerns and having asked clarifying (or open) questions, you are ready to confirm what you already know. You do this by asking "closed questions" that will help you slow down a bit during your presentation, keep you at the same pace with your prospective client and demonstrate that you want to verify your understanding of all that has been shared up to this point.

Here are some examples of confirming (or closed) questions:

"If I understand you correctly, you're interested in using XYZ money managers?"

"Are you saying you are not interested in continuing with this investment approach and would like to switch to the second approach we discussed?"

"You would like at least quarterly reviews of your portfolio, is this correct?"

Being A World-Class Communicator

Remember to listen to your prospects and clients for "clues" to their inner emotions. As we mentioned at the beginning of the article, emotions encompass many feelings such as frustrations, fears, needs problems and so on. The clues you receive from prospects and clients will help you determine when it is appropriate to acknowledge, clarify and confirm the information they are sharing with you. Important: you do not have to follow the three skills in order. Depending upon your own situation, you may need to clarify first, and then acknowledge and confirm.

Here are five beliefs that will help you in making an emotional connection and, ultimately, in earning the right to the value connection with a client:

1. People make decisions emotionally, and will try to justify their behavior logically. This supports the adage that, "Business is first a meeting of the hearts, then it becomes a meeting of the minds."