As an independent financial adviser with a passion for your work, you care about your clients and their financial wellbeing. That’s why it’s truly frustrating when you have a client who ignores your advice, even when it is clear that you have spent time, energy, and expertise on customised investment and insurance solutions designed to improve their financial situation.
What should you do if a client ignores your advice? Not only can this be disastrous for your client, it can have a major impact on your reputation and financial services practice. So, this situation needs to be dealt with immediately.
Ways to handle a client who ignores your advice:
1. Get to the cause
Before you get upset with your client for ignoring (or even contradicting) your advice, it’s a good idea to find out why this is the case. Listen to their reasoning and ask specific questions about their decisions and actions. Did they not understand your advice? Did they actively disagree with it? Are they getting contradictory advice from another source? Be open and interested – if you don’t want to lose this client, you have to show empathy and understanding, rather than defensiveness. Perhaps at the heart of the matter, they don’t really trust you. This might be hard to hear but it could also be a sign that your outlook and methods don’t match up with your clients, and it might be time to part ways.
2. Acknowledge your client’s concerns
Clients might resist your advice for emotional reasons such as fear of the unknown or concern over doing something with their money that they’ve never done before. Money (and the financial planning that goes along with it) has huge emotional implications. Clients that feel acknowledged and understood are more likely to come around to your point of view or at least give you another chance to explain why you have made the suggestions you have. This will help to stabilise your relationship and build further trust for future interactions.
3. Separate your business from your personal life
If a client doesn’t take your advice, don’t take it personally – in most cases, this is not about you as a person. Perhaps your client isn’t ready to take the steps required to follow the plan you’ve laid out for them? Perhaps this is more about them than about you? Whatever the reason, take time to understand where your client is at and then try to present your plan in a different way, carefully explaining the negative consequences of not following expert advice. Focus on the advice and the actions, rather than on personalities or personal issues – unless these are material to your trust relationship.
4. Write it all down
Once you have communicated with your client and tried to understand their position, send them an email outlining your concerns and repeating your suggested plan. This will give your client another chance to review your suggestions (and follow your logic) as well as stand as a written record of your advice for future reference.
In the end, you have been hired to do a job – soundly advise your clients so that they can enjoy the best possible financial stability and prosperity. If you are doing this and your client is ignoring your advice, there are ways you can remedy the situation and there are times when you might have to end the relationship.
At TRG, we understand how much time and effort a good independent adviser puts into maintaining their client relationships. Looking to work with a team that understands what it means to offer independent advice? Or looking to sell your book to a group of reputable professionals? Chat to us. We’d love to hear from you.