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By David RichmanNational Director, Eaton Vance Advisor Institute

Many of the questions advisors ask are, in fact, an attempt to lead a prospect to a desired destination. Consider what might happen if you entered into conversations without a desired destination.

In a recent prospecting call role-play, our "prospect" was a teacher in her late 50s feeling the pressures of working in a school district still in a hybrid learning environment.

At what turned out to be a key point of inflection in our role-play, the prospect exclaimed; "I don't know if I can take this much longer." The advisor let those words suspend in air. After several seconds of silence, rather than ask a follow-up question, she said, "Tell me a bit more about how you are feeling and what you may be thinking."

Both the extended pause combined with the phrase "tell me a bit more" are so powerful and can open the door to a deeper discussion. While neither are a question per se, in many ways they may reveal so much more than an artfully crafted question ever could. 

Bottom line: Embrace the power of the pause to open the door for a prospective client to tell you more. What he/she shares may lead to a far more profound place than the destination you desired.