Let’s admit it – it’s hard to say “No,” particularly when someone wants to hire you as their financial advisor. But if you have a clear definition of your ideal client, that means some prospective clients are ideal, and some are not.
So what do you do when a prospective client does not fit your quantitative or qualitative criteria for an ideal client, will not become an ideal client any time soon and you can’t justify making an exception?
In those situations, it’s best to own it and be upfront. Tell the prospective client that they are not a good fit for your practice.
Here are three ways to say it:
“Based on everything you’ve told me about your situation and what you need from a financial advisor, I don’t think we’d be a good fit for you at this time.”
“Based on today’s conversation, in terms of your expectations as well as what we look for in the type relationship we develop with clients, I don’t think we would be the best match for each other.”
“Based on what you have described that you are looking for as well as the type of comprehensive process we use, we would probably not be cost effective for you at this point in time.”
If you’ve done a good job describing whom you are well-suited to help, they probably have already come to that same conclusion.
But rather than leave it there, give them some direction on what to do next.
For example, you could advise them on some steps they could take on their own or point them toward someone else who could provide the help that is more appropriate for them and they could afford.
It’s the best situation for everyone – they get the help they need, and you don’t take on someone who is not right for you.
Being intentional about whom you can and cannot serve is critical. Otherwise, you run the risk of taking on too many clients that you cannot serve with excellence, diluting your brand, and limiting the number of clients that you can serve well.
This can create a stressful or even chaotic work environment for yourself and your practice.
So change your thinking: you’re not helping everyone you meet, but making sure the people you meet are getting the help they need.