When you’re first starting out as a financial advisor getting any work at all can seem like a good thing. In fact, the prospect of turning down new business could seem terrifying. However, you need to change your approach or you could end up working long term with unprofitable and stressful clients. To avoid such a scenario, you need to make the decision not to open certain accounts in the first place.
Here are a few ways to help you identify whether a prospect is going to be a good fit for you – and how to say no politely if you discover they aren’t.
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The warning signs that it’s time to move on
During your initial conversation with prospective clients, you will start to understand how they tick. If you get the impression that a prospect is not going to give you full control to all their assets, it may be time to think about whether they are worth working with. Additionally, if you feel they are going to expect a daily report card from you, think twice about opening that account. And if prospects appear to be highly fee conscious rather than results focused, this probably won’t work for you either.
Remember when someone opens an account with you he or she is not doing you a favor. You are doing them a favor. Because of you they will be able to look forward to financial security – for example a comfortable retirement or debt free way to send their kids to college.
So, don’t leave your dignity at the door. Keep your self-respect and your head held high. Just because a potential client has money and a need, it doesn’t mean they will be a good prospect for you. If they don’t respect what you have to say – or if they make you chase after them – this should be sending you a message loud and clear: It’s time to move on.
Create an ideal client profile
If you don’t have an ideal client in mind, then you’re likely to be prospecting randomly to many people who are never going to be a good fit for your business. You need to create an ideal client sheet.
This is a one-page written statement that you can hand out to prospects. This should detail all the things you think your ideal client should be – e.g. where they live, their age, profession – and how you can help them with their specific problems and challenges.
Think about what it is that draws you to this ideal profile. Perhaps you have common backgrounds. Or maybe you have the same hobbies. And to help you identify your target market think about the people you currently do business with – whom do you really love to work with? What is it about them that makes them such great clients? Base your ideal client profile on these people.
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How do you politely say no?
Remember that saying no will not be the kiss of death to your business. When your gut instinct tells you that a prospective client is not going to be the right fit – if you think your working relationship would only lead to stress – then politely decline without making it personal. You could maybe recommend someone who you think would be more comfortable with their personality or someone who is more affordable.
When you first meet with a prospect it’s an interview for both of you; both parties need to ascertain that the relationship is right for them, because this could be the start of a long-term collaboration. As the owner of your business you need to put your needs and priorities first. This means you must turn down clients who will need exhausting hours, provide you with extraordinary hassles or put you under undue stress. By not opening the account with these people you will preserve your integrity and protect your business.
Remember when you say ‘no’ it isn’t personal, it’s just business. You have created a solid business strategy and a client profile that you need to follow. Some clients will not fit in with your strategy; others’ personalities and beliefs may clash with yours. So, use your judgement, keep to your roadmap, and learn that sometimes its ok to ‘not open’ the account –this will only up your overall chances of success.
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