How To Smoothly Transition Existing Clients to a New Advisor

As your business grows, how can you smoothly transition existing clients to a new advisor?

This is a challenge for many advisors when their business is growing. They either don’t know the words to say, or they lack the conviction for starting the process because they get overly concerned imagining how disappointed some of the clients they’ve been working with are going to feel working with another advisor.

So what do they do? They simply put it off, put it in the too-hard basket. Their business continues growing, their headaches continue compounding, and they’re simply frustrated with themselves because they know they need to deal with this problem and they won’t.

So I want to provide you with a solution. We faced this very problem, and so we went about crafting a letter that we hard copied, we mailed it to all of our clients, and we had absolutely no problems at all. We did have some clients who were a little disappointed they weren’t going to get to stay working with the person they wanted to most, but they totally understood. They understood because we explained it clearly in our letter.

So I just want to read you some snippets of what we included. This is how we started:

“Hi Malcolm and Valerie, despite, or possibly due to the constant economic and market turbulence we’re experiencing, we continue growing.”

[This is] something really positive out of the gate. You’re letting them know you’re recognizing what’s going on around them, but you, as a firm, are actually continuing to grow through this.

Then you write this:

“Due to that growth, however, and in anticipation of continued market volatility, Duncan is now needing to assume a more strategic outlook and planning role within the firm.”

Don’t use “I.” Don’t use the first-person pronoun. Use your name and present the letter in the context of this being sent out by the firm. This is being sent out by your company.

Then you can mention,

“While we’re not interested in trying to profit from predicting future market outcomes, ensuring we best navigate volatile market conditions as safely as possible is in everyone’s best interest.”

It’s common sense stuff: we want everybody to be profitable. We want you, as a client, to be profitable. We’re a company, and we need to ensure we’re doing the best job possible for you, but also for us. And so, you’re letting them know this is what’s behind the decision to have this person now take on more of a strategic role for the firm, looking ahead and projecting what needs to be happening and guiding the company through the future.

Then you just finish it off:

“Within the next several weeks, one of our team will be contacting you to let you know more details about these steps that we’re taking.”

It’s a very simple, brief letter — maybe four brief paragraphs.

This is something that is included in the Fiduciary Foundations course that we run for advisors at Ash Brokerage because it deals with the problems and the real-life challenges that advisors face. So we’ve put this in the course, and advisors are already benefiting from this because they’ve told us they simply didn’t have the words to say up until now. We’d love to help you, too, and I’m happy to send a copy of this to you if you email me at [email protected]

So, when you’re facing making this decision,

  1. Take time to craft a letter. Take time to put down the words that you are comfortable with and you suspect your clients will be just fine with. Not everybody is going to be thrilled, but that’s OK. You need to be most comfortable.
  2. Write the letter. Circulate it amongst your team, if you have a team. Have somebody read it and see how they’d feel about it. The bottom line is, get input regarding the content.
  3. Mail it out.

Not everybody is going to be thrilled about it, understandably: these are people who love and enjoy working with you. But the fact is, you’re a growing, thriving business, and everyone wants to be a part of that. This is a positive statement you’re making, and you need to feel positive about it and take that next step. It’s all part of your business growth. It’s all part of running a phenomenally successful financial advisory firm.

Related: What an Advisor Should Say If They’re Young or Lack Experience