Every advisor I know has at least one good story about firing a client. We all know the client in these stories… He has millions of questions, is always complaining and isn’t expected to generate any commissions in your (or your children’s) lifetime. In fact, one broker-dealer I know actually teaches its advisors how to properly fire “problematic” clients and surprisingly, it doesn’t involve firearms.
What happens when the shoe is on the other foot? Think about it. Have you ever heard an advisor telling a great story about being fired by a client? Of course you haven’t. Any client wanting to fire us must be mentally deranged and is certainly not worth talking about. These types of clients don’t factor in our thinking.
Back in the good old days one could afford to lose an occasional client because a hundred more were lined up just outside the door. Today, things are different. In order to keep the Mercedes in premium gas, you have to care about all of your clients… even the crazy ones you hate.
During these challenging financial times, I believe it is prudent to nurture every good client. Smother them with kindness, shower them with gifts (up to compliance-approved limits, of course) and make them love you. Make them love you so much that no matter how bad you screw up… they would never leave you. If you don’t believe in this theory, consider former President Clinton or Dennis Rodman.
The key to being fireproof is to make your clients think of you as part of their extended family… even if it means you’re the crazy uncle that married his cousin. Blood is thicker than water. Use it to your advantage. It’s pretty tough to fire someone that no matter what is showing up on Christmas Eve with a damned fruitcake!
If you’d like to get started making your practice more fireproof, here are a few tips to get you started.