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How to be picky when it comes to clients

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Account minimums for new clients are quickly becoming the status quo for advisors offering wealth management services, and from a business-model standpoint, it makes perfect sense. After all, isn’t it more lucrative to focus on accounts right up your alley?

Kevin Meehan thinks so. As owner of Summit Wealth Advisors, LLC, in Itasca, Ill., Meehan educates prospects about the type of client he is seeking to increase the likelihood the lead will qualify as a legitimate prospect. “We are very clear with our sources about whom we want to work with and what type of relationship we are looking to have,” he says. “Our hope is that they will understand what markets we are interested in serving and so our referrals may be in smaller volume but more pre-qualified.”

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Bedda D’Angelo, president of Fiduciary Solutions, a financial planning and investment management firm in Durham, N.C., is equally selective about the accounts her company takes on. After an initial phone interview with D’Angelo, prospects pay a $500 fee for preliminary financial analysis. “Most people who are interested think $500 is a small amount because I can tell them right up front whether I can do anything to help them with what they want,” she says. “For people who want comprehensive financial planning, that is considered a nominal cost if it doesn’t work out.”

Being picky takes time, effort, and the results to back it up. However, being selective about your next client can also boost your credibility: “Most clients will respect that you have to have criteria,” says Meehan. “They know we have a limited amount of time in the day, and every time we bring in a new client to the firm, we have less time for the people already here. People get that.”