Sometimes (and, hopefully, not often), you find that a client relationship no longer works or is as functional as it once was. Perhaps you shouldn’t have taken them on in the first place, your client base has shifted, the client makes unreasonable demands, or you no longer agree on how best to manage their finances.
Whatever the case, there might come a time when you have to end the relationship – effectively firing your client. It’s best not to do this in haste or as part of a blame game. Clients don’t often take kindly to being fired and they might feel upset or angry, which could be damaging to your reputation. However, as unpleasant as it may be, sometime the relationship has to end. Our suggestion? Plan and execute properly so that you can exit the relationship gracefully.
Two steps to ending a client relationship
1. Spend time thinking about why you want to end the relationship and the positive gains to be made from taking this step.
Ending a client relationship can be tough so you need to remind yourself why this is happening. List the reasons. Then consider what you will be gaining in terms of time, energy, and good business practice by letting go. Perhaps, after all is said and done, the client will go on to work with an adviser better suited to their needs and you will have more time and energy to dedicate to your other clients, and to grow your business with the clients you want to work with.
2. Communicate properly.
It is important to follow all the legal and professional processes that come with disengaging from a professional, financial relationship. Ensure all contractual obligations are fulfilled and communicate your decision in a clear and calm manner. Consider an in-person meeting, or an email and follow-up phone call, depending what you think will work best for that client. Keep your explanation and delivery professional at all times. Be tactful – “I don’t believe I’m the right adviser to work with you on the next step of your financial journey” is a much better reason than “You don’t want to manage your money like I tell you to and that’s frustrating.” There is no need to get personal and, while the client might be upset initially, it’s important for your reputation to try and part on relatively good terms.
Ending your relationship with a client can be hard to do but, if done for the right reasons and in the right way, it can turn out better for you, your (previous) client, and future relationships with other more suitable clients. Giving clients what they need to secure their wealth and enjoy their money is fundamental to the role of a financial adviser. At times, giving a client what they need involves not being the one to give it to them.
Are you an independent financial adviser looking to work with a supportive team of experts? Talk to us – at TRG, we love being independent financial advisers and always looking to work with like-minded individuals to help them mange their book and protect their clients’ wealth now and in the future.