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Nine Signs You May Be Losing a Client

If you notice any of these tell-tale signs, it's time to touch base and ask for feedback on how you're doing.

It’s hard to bring in new clients—it’s even harder to lose them (emotionally at least). There are some loyalty fundamentals that can keep attrition to a minimum (more on that in a later article), but today we’ll share some tips on how to identify clients with “one foot out the door.” Ideally, you can identify them, ask for feedback, and rebuild their loyalty. The following are nine signs to look for:

  1. They Question Your Performance or Fees
    Even if the question is phrased nicely, it still m
    eans that you have someone questioning two core pieces of your offering. They may also be looking into the performance and fees of other advisors.
  2. They Check Out Your LinkedIn Profile
    Remember, if a client looks at your LinkedIn profile, they’re looking for a reason. It could be to refer you to a friend—
    or—it could be a part of them examining all their options for financial advice.
  3. They Only Take Pieces of Your Advice
    Previously, this client might have accepted your recommendations without fail, but now they have an extra question—or two or three.
  4. They Are Slower to Return Your Calls/Emails
    This is no different with clients than it is with prospects. When it becomes harder to get in touch with them, you know things could be going south.

  5. They Assign You a New Point of Contact in Their Family
    Regardless of the reason for this change, the relationship could be in jeopardy, unless you’ve developed a strong relationship with this family member in advance.

  6. They Are Going Through a Life or Business Transition
    Business sale, divorce, marriage—we look for these when trying to find new clients, so it only makes sense these could be reasons for losing a client as well.

  7. They Have a Friend or Family Member Who Becomes an Advisor
    This doesn’t always mean they’ll pull their account in full or quickly—most affluent clients want that friend or family member to get settled before investing with them.
  8. They Voice Dissatisfaction About Your Statements, Technology, etc.
    In today’s age, technology can make or break a relationship.  Make sure someone on your team is an expert on your apps
    , videoconferencing and online access. 
  9. They Are Checking Their Online Account Often (if you can see this)
    Many of you are able to see when a client logs into their account. If you see the frequency pick up, it’s a great time to lob a call their way.

If you encounter any of these signs, it’s not time for a confrontation. It just signals a good time to touch base with them and to ask for feedback on how things are going. This can feel a little scary, but you’d rather unearth their unhappiness now, than during an exit interview.

Stephen Boswell is a partner with The Oechsli Institute, a firm that specializes in research and training for the financial services industry. @StephenBoswell

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