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Category: Loyalty · 3 min read

5 Tips for Breaking Up with a Client

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on November 14, 2019

author profile photo

on November 14, 2019

Financial professional meeting with clients

There’s no denying that clients are the water that keeps your business growing, but, sometimes, that water can be contaminated.

Here’s what I mean: some clients may be more trouble than they’re worth. They may be very demanding or require a lot of extra care and attention. When that happens, you have a decision to make. Are they worth it? If you’re fairly new to the business, your answer might be yes. But, if you’ve been at it a while and have a sizable client base already built, you might have the freedom to say no.

When that happens, when you run into a tough situation with a client and decide that it’s not worth it to continue the relationship, it may be time to break up. And that’s okay. There are times when the cons outweigh the pros, and it’s in your best interest to cut ties. But how you handle the break-up is important. In order to not offend the client and not burn the bridge for good, here are some ways to help it go smoothly.  

When you run into a tough situation with a client and decide that it’s not worth it to continue the relationship, it may be time to break up. And that’s okay.

1. Take it Slow 

Before you go through with a client break-up, try everything else first. See if there’s a way you can fix the issues you’re having with the client. In other words, exhaust all of your other options before you resort to ending the relationship. Another option may be to refer them to another financial professional that may better suit their needs and expectations. The goal here is to not be too quick to cut ties, and ensure you’ve covered your bases first. After you’ve tried every other route, follow these next steps.  

 

2. Be Honest 

Lead with honesty. This doesn’t mean that you say “Here’s why I don’t want you as a client anymore…,” and then explain the specific reasons, but it does mean you should let them know that the arrangement/relationship isn’t going to work any longer. If you don’t mind confrontation, this may not be that difficult, but for those of us that avoid confrontation, it can be very hard to have this conversation. The important thing to remember here is that you don’t want to waste any more of your time or your client’s time, so it’s worth it to be honest and up front about it right away. Tell them that you feel it’s no longer a good fit for both of you, and that you think they’re better off working with a different financial professional. This is honest, up front, and gives them a next step of finding someone else.  

 

3. List Out Your Reasons 

Don’t go into the break-up unprepared. It may help to list out your reasons and practice how and what you’re going to say. Bounce it off of your spouse or a friend. What do they think? How do they respond to it? Writing down concrete reasons as to why you need to end the relationship also can help you realize and articulate the deeper reason why it’s more beneficial for you to walk away. One helpful place to start is to go back to your roots. How does this relationship go against your set values or goals for your business?  

Writing down concrete reasons as to why you need to end the relationship also can help you realize and articulate the deeper reason why it’s more beneficial for you to walk away.

4. Time it Right 

Find the right time to break the news. You don’t have to end it right away. Waiting until it’s time for an annual review could be an opportune moment to bring it up. On a similar note, consider giving your client enough time to process and create a plan for transition. This is where it can be tricky to not burn the bridge, but if you give them a week or month, it can help make the news more bearable.  

 

5. Learn From It  

We learn from failure, and that includes learning from clients that end up not being a good fit. Eventually, you may get to the point where you pick up on certain warning signs, so you can spare yourself going through the same situation again.

Breaking up with a client is never fun or easy, but sometimes it’s necessary. Sometimes it’s the only way forward. But how you handle the situation and break the news can help the relationship run its course smoothly, and not burn the bridge entirely. 

#19-0746-110820 

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Written By

Mark Williams

President and CEO

Mark Williams is the President/CEO of Brokers International. Over his more than 25 years of financial services experience, Mark has been both a producing independent agent in the field and a home office leader consulting to agencies and field marketing organizations. Currently, Mark is focused on the future of the insurance industry, from the disruptions of InsurTech and robo-advisors to the changing demographics and needs of customers. He also is an avid mentor, helping financial professionals navigate the industry.

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