In a blog post late last month, I mentioned that I had recently lost a client. In fact, it was the first client I had lost since 2008. I tend to take client departures personally, and now that I’ve had a few weeks to reflect on it, I’d like to share a valuable lesson I’ve learned.
All of us have a protocol we use when meeting a prospective client for the first time. Perhaps it’s a series of well-thought-out questions. Perhaps we just go with the flow and let our conscience be our guide. Whatever the case, I have a greater appreciation of the importance of setting the right tone and expectations during the initial interview. With this as a backdrop, I will share a few thoughts on the subject.
This Is a Long-Term Proposition
Sometimes a client will have just enough trust to hire you, but not quite enough to stick it out over the long haul. Therefore, it’s important to ask about their past advisory relationships. How many advisors have they had and how long did the relationships last? Moreover, why did they change advisors? Understanding this can be invaluable as it provides insight into their thought process. A client that has frequently changed advisors may be seeking something that’s unobtainable. They may also be impatient or uninformed about the process of investment management and the patience it requires. Therefore, it’s crucial to get to the core of who they are and to understand how they make decisions.
Level of Involvement