TWEDY trumps tweets for client communicationArticle added by Susan Zimmerman on April 7, 2010
Susan Zimmerman

Susan Zimmerman

Apple Valley, MN

Joined: August 21, 2010

Had a good tweet lately? Regardless of how accomplished you are in your social media adventure, I would like to suggest another strategy to help you remember to ask your client the most important questions.

At times in the last 22 years, I've been overwhelmed by all the questions I'm trying to remember to ask clients. In the early training years, we were taught some basic "fact finding" questions so we could gain some understanding of our client's financial circumstances, both historic and current.

But those facts never tell what is most important to the client in the client's own language. We want to genuinely understand what they care about, what they understand about their money, and what changes they're willing to make to improve their situation.

But it can be nearly impossible to remember what to ask or how to frame a question in a way that generates non-defensive and open responses on the part of our clients.

While working as a licensed therapist, I came up with the acronym TWEDY to remind me of a useful sentence stem that can frame many pertinent questions. TWEDY stands for:

To What Extent Do You ____________________________?

From here, all you have to do is fill in the blank to get an honest response from your client. Examples of how it can be used to help you determine what products or solutions to recommend are below. This can be helpful with asset management services, life insurance, annuities, long term care insurance, and analytical fee-based services.

To What Extent Do You:
  • Want advice about reallocating your investments to a more diversified portfolio?

  • Care about solving your survivorship needs in a timely manner?

  • Prefer guaranteed income as part of your retirement planning?

  • Feel concern about your long term care needs?

  • Want us to compare calculations and advise you on the impact of this decision?
You can practice TWEDY in several ways, all of which designed to help you to more fully understand what your client cares about and is willing to hire you to do. You can't make them care about something, but you can gauge their interest to learn more and act on your advice.

Don't forget to use the TWEDY concept with slight variations of the words so you don't sound overly robotic. Examples include:
  • To what extent would you consider_________?

  • How important is it to you to _____________?

  • On a scale of one to 10, how important is it to you to resolve ______________?

  • How high a priority is it to you to _________________?

  • What is your willingness to get this solved now?
When you combine the best of your analysis with your clients' authentic motivations, your solutions are much more likely to get in place and stay in place. TWEDY benefit both you and your client because of the understanding, awareness, and trust it creates.

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