Stop the Madness – Fire a Client


The two biggest stumbling blocks to high productivity (being in the zone) are stress and lack of confidence.

So I will ask, Do you have a client that calls and when you hear their name or see it on the caller ID, you immediately feel nausea or a pit in your gut?  If you are like most advisors, the answer is YES!

This client is likely a good source of revenue, but a high source of anxiety and energy drain.  You want to like him or her and try to please them, but each time that darn phone rings or that email comes in, you feel sick.

Consider this.  The amount of life force this relationship takes from you and your staff is equal to 7-10 great clients you enjoy.  These wonderful relationships, not to mention family and staff, are suffering as a result.

There IS a solution.  Fire them.  Let them go.  Say goodbye.

Yes, you hate to let the revenue go or admit failure, but fear not, it is for the best.

So how do you do it?  You don’t want to hurt anyone’s feeling or ruin the relationship with a referral source.  But be assured,  the client knows it too.  So here goes…

Depending on how you feel (yes, feel), this can be done by letter or over the phone. 

Here is a sample conversation:

“Joe, I realize that you have found our relationship to be less than satisfactory, which both I and my staff have sensed from your comments and behavior.  I believe that you would be better served by another advisor.  We will cooperate and aid in any manner we can in the transferring of your relationship.  I have appreciated our work together and this decision was not reached without careful consideration.  This is not something I wish to discuss further.  You will need to speak to (insert staff person’s name) to give your instructions where you would like your accounts and/or file sent.  Please hold on and I will turn you over to them now”

Push the hold button and BREATH.  You did it.  Cherish the moment and remember the feeling of stopping the madness.

Guide – The stress of one bad client is equal to the energy it takes to support 10 normal relationships.

Action item – You are a good person.  Free yourself from the oppression and fire this client.  You know who they are.  You will be better off.

© 2010 The Advisors Center, LLC – All Rights Reserved

3 Responses to “Stop the Madness – Fire a Client”

  1. 1 Jacqueline February 4, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    You are so right! I recently wrote about this here I particularly like your quote, “The stress of one bad client is equal to the energy it takes to support 10 normal relationships.” This is so true. Great article – thank you!

  2. 2 Marty January 12, 2010 at 11:12 am

    You left out the best part…firing a lousy client is very empowering. Firing a bad client demonstrates that in the deepest recesses of one’s being the advisor controls the client relationship. Clients are fortunate to be advised by you because of the many charlatans and pretenders with whom they might have been tragically connected these past two years. You have chosen to work with only a select few clients. You provide tremendous value.

    There is scarcity. You have only so many hours in the day. With family obligations and other free time pursuits, only so many clients can make the grade. The amount of money the client has is important, but your wellbeing and mental health must be at peak condition to provide those clients who trust you implicitly the very best advice you can provide. You cannot burn your precious confidence on lousy unappreciative clients.

    Some clients will take advantage of your service offer or worse, they will take advantage of your most precious asset, your staff. Let your staff pick one client each year who they would recommend firing. You’ll be surprised who’s sapping their confidence. They too will feel very empowered.

    Improve your confidence and your staff’s confidence, fire a client today.

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