For new advisors, signing up a new client – any client – seems like a significant accomplishment.
After all, keeping money flowing in is the most important thing. However, with time, you’ll see that you have two categories of clients: those that are nice to work with, make reasonable demands on your time, and are entirely supportive of your ideas. Then there are the others, who you’ve grown to despise interacting with.
No one wants to fire a customer, but it’s sometimes necessary. Every circumstance is different, but bad clients have similar characteristics. If any of these warning signals remind you of a client on your list, your business might benefit from dropping them.
1. When the client does not respect your time
Do you have a client that wants you to complete tasks in a very short amount of time? How about the one who doesn’t seem to comprehend that you can’t be at work 24/7?
Alarms should ring in your head if you begin to get nonstop calls, messages, and emails with queries from some clients about their portfolio. You can’t always be available to answer questions, so determine when to put a stop to it.
On the other hand, clients with larger accounts are worth investing a bit more time with – but even multimillion-dollar clients’ expectations may become excessive and exasperating.
2. When the client doesn’t respect the contract scope
If a customer insists on doing work that isn’t covered by their contract, they’re undoubtedly a drain on your business’s resources.
Continuing to engage with a customer who has an unreasonable expectation of what your agency should be able to deliver for them – and who refuses to listen to reason – may not be worth the hassle.
3. If there’s no trust
When you initially start working with a client, you won’t know each other very well, and building trust takes time. If, after some time, a customer is continuously second-guessing you and questioning your motives, it may be time to call it quits.
4. If the client is verbally abusive
It’s one thing to be fussy or demanding. However, it’s a different story if you or your teammates are severely chastised.
It’s time to let go of clients if they constantly yell at you or call you names.
5. If the client is constantly having payment issues
Perhaps a client tends to pay you late, or you aren’t charging them below a standard rate.
Payment issues, in any case, are a warning that it’s time to move on.
When you’ve determined that a client is no longer a good fit for you, tell them right away that you don’t think you’re the ideal adviser for them and that a different business might better serve them. You may even provide them with the contact information of another organization they can try out. In any circumstance, maintain a professional demeanor and avoid taking anything personally.