Clients are the foundation of any advisory business and no advisor likes to fire them. However, sometimes a client stops being an asset and becomes a hindrance to the business. Keeping such clients can consume valuable time and resources which would be better spent on those clients who contribute to your growth.
It is better to drop such clients. Although firing a difficult client can be tricky, you know a lot more about the client now than you did when you first started the relationship. The conversation can be awkward, but there are ways to approach the matter. And remember, this could be an important milestone to your business growth.
Here are a few tips to soften the blow.
Appreciate your journey together
Use this approach to make the clients feel good about their journey with you and assure them that they do not need your expertise anymore. You can use this approach through email, face to face or even over the phone.
Recommend them to other advisors
Depending on your reason to fire them, another IFA could be more suited to work with the clients. You need to first confirm it though with the advisor to whom you are referring your clients.
You can tell them personally, “I have helped you as far as I can on your journey. I would like to refer you to (name of the advisor), who I think is going to be a better fit for you.”
It’s not you, it’s me
Tell them that your business has evolved to the level that you cannot service them. This idea works because you make it about your availability and your business and not about their need. You can say, “It has been great working together but due to personal reasons, I am no longer going to be able to assist you with my services.”
Tell them the truth
If you do not want to use any of the above lines of approach, you can simply tell them the truth. Explain to them the issues you have with them in detail. Be very clear about the fact that you will no longer work with them, and set an end date for the working relationship. Say, “Unfortunately, I am noticing that we are having some problems with our working relationship. Although, it is not easy but I do not think that I can assist you any further.”