Clients: You Win Some, You Lose Some

Since we're in a business which is in a constant state of flux, it pays to keep up with other advisors in your area. Let's say you have a prospective client who is working with an advisor across town. You have a few meetings with the prospect but they decide to maintain their current advisory relationship. What if one day the other advisor retires or changes firms? What would you do? Depending on what I know about the other advisor, I might reach out again to see if the client is moving with them. This is precisely what happened recently. A financial planning client I'd been working with over the past few years had his assets with another firm. His advisor left and now the client is transferring his account to me. The moral of the story is that it's a good idea to keep up with this type of information. In this business, timing is a critical part of client acquisition.

Let's face facts. Investors make decisions on selecting a new advisor based largely on gut instincts. There's only so much we can do to affect this. Much of this decision is influenced by the client's experiences from the earliest stages of life. Not to get too psychological, but everyone has a different prism by which they view the world.

As a case in point, I had a prospective new client in my office recently. We met for about two hours and it seemed to go very well. At the end of the meeting he suggested we meet again and indicated that he would like to move forward. A week passed with no contact. This can mean one of two things, either he is very busy or out of town, or he has lost interest. Whatever the reason, if it were important enough to him he would be knocking on my door. In this particular case, he sent me an e-mail saying he has decided to go with another planner.

While I may never know why he made this decision, there are a number of possibilities. I am a small firm and he may be more comfortable with a large company. Maybe his wife was a factor here. Since she didn't attend the first meeting, perhaps she thought it best to go with a big box firm. In any event, I am not the least bit upset about it as I only want clients who are excited to work with me.

After all, I think I'm very good at what I do. That's my prism; what's yours?

Reprints Discuss this story
This is where the comments go.