There is no probationary period. Often there’s no warning period either. When a client leaves their advisor, it’s often a sudden occurrence. Why does it happen? Can it be prevented?

1. Lack of communication. That’s the traditional reason. It’s often cited by clients if the firm can manage an exit interview. They feel taken for granted.
Preventable: You need to reach out to all clients at least a minimum scheduled number of times. Your CRM system can help.

2. Don’t see your value. The stock market has done well for about 10 years. They think they can do as well or better themselves, so they cut out the middleman. That’s you.
Preventable: It comes back to communication. They need to know what you’ve done in the background, even if your conclusion is “We don’t need to change anything.”

3. Their loyalty is to the firm. This occurs if you take a job at another firm, expecting your good clients will follow you. Although they have a good relationship with you, they walked through the door on day one because they chose the firm.
Preventable: You need to build the best personal relationship possible, emphasizing what you do for them.

4. A scandal hit the firm. The parent company is in serious legal trouble. Someone or several people did something very bad. It’s all over the papers. The client doesn’t want to be associated with scandal.
Preventable: It’s time to present the firm as your branch in your town and you as their advisor. That problem occurred in a different division. We weren’t involved.

5. Confidentiality. This can happen in small towns. A wealthy person assumes everyone knows their business if they are seen entering and leaving your storefront office all the time. They move their account to the nearby city, where they will be anonymous.
Preventable: They need to be reminded about client confidentiality. How long have you been together? Have they ever heard you talking about another client? You have no intention of starting to now.

6. Their spouse doesn’t like you. If you focus on the primary decision maker, their other half can feel slighted. They can make life at home very uncomfortable for their spouse until they change advisors.
Preventable: Treat them both as equals. Meet with both parties present. Give them each attention, even if one says “I don’t get involved in that stuff.”

7. They can’t reach you. You are a big producer. You have a team. You did the solicitation. Once they became a client, they were assigned to a team member. They suspect “bait and switch.”
Preventable: Politely explain how things will get done faster through dedicated team members, but your door is open if they need to talk.

8. Foot in the door. Another advisor used the “You can work with more than one advisor” argument. They got some assets transferred over. They are looking to win more.
Preventable: Give the best service possible. Remind them what you do for them.

9. Someone else has the same interests. They serve on the board of a charity. So does a competing advisor. They feel the other advisor does a lot for the cause. They transfer over their account as a reward.
Preventable: Let clients know the charities you support. Remind them people can work with more than one advisor.

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