What to Do When a Financial Planning Client Moves On

As a financial planner, one of your goals is to build a loyal group of clients who stay with you and your firm long-term. But even the best financial planner can’t guarantee 100% client loyalty. No matter how good you are are your job, chances are you’ll have a client decide to leave at some point in your career.

So what should you do when that happens? What’s the best way to respond to a financial planning client who says they’re closing their investment accounts or transferring them to another firm?

It might seem like the best response is to do whatever you can to get that client to stay. But that’s not always true. In most cases, it’s actually more important to focus on your own perspective and next steps instead of trying to change your client’s mind. 

How Do You See Your Financial Planning Client?

When a client says they’re leaving, you might feel angry, sad, or frustrated. All of those feelings are normal! After all, you’ve put time and effort into helping your client manage their finances, and you might feel like they’re being ungrateful by choosing to leave.

Even though it’s normal to feel those negative emotions, it’s important not to lean into them and let them take control. Give yourself a bit of time to feel that way and then, start working on changing your perspective.

Remember, your financial planning client came to you originally because they wanted you to help them feel confident about their money and make progress toward their financial goals. They may be deciding to leave because they finally feel confident enough to manage their money on their own. Or you might have helped them realize that they needed to change their financial goals to better match what they really want. In either of those cases, you can remind yourself that your client leaving is a sign of how much you helped them.

But what if a client is leaving because they disagree with your advice or because they would rather work with one of your competitors? How do you have a good perspective on that decision?

As hard as it is, remind yourself that your client’s life, decisions, and finances are theirs. You might think they’re making a big mistake (and you might be right!), but their choices are their responsibility. 

At the end of the day, you can’t control what they do. All you can do is make sure you’re giving them your best effort and doing everything you can to support them. As long as you’ve done that, there’s no reason for you to feel guilty or embarrassed that they’re leaving.

Ask Your Client for Feedback

You might want to consider asking your client for feedback before they leave. There are several reasons to do so:

  • Reputation: Asking for feedback shows your client that you truly care about meeting their needs and are willing to learn and grow. Most clients will respect you more, and they may reconsider leaving, especially if you can implement some of their feedback. Even if they still decide to go, they may recommend you to a friend or decide to come back sometime in the future.
  • Growth: If you can get feedback from your client to know why they’re leaving, you may learn something you can change or implement in the future to make you a better financial planner.
  • Closure: By giving your client the opportunity to offer feedback, you might be able to get a little more insight into their decision.

Getting feedback from your client can help you understand if there’s anything you need to change about your approach with future clients. And if your client doesn’t really have any feedback, it’s probably a good sign that ending your relationship is the best outcome for both of you.

Offer Financial Planning Advice Only If Your Client Requests It

It can be tempting to respond to your client’s decision by telling them you disagree or pointing out potential negative outcomes. However, it’s best to avoid this type of conversation unless your client specifically asks for your thoughts about their decision. 

If they’re coming to you because they’ve already decided to leave, arguing with them won’t convince them to stay. It may just solidify their opinion that you’re not the right fit. 

If they ask you for your opinion about this choice they’re considering, then it’s usually OK to offer your advice. However, make sure you stay respectful and polite — that’s the best way to disagree with a client without jeopardizing your relationship with them. 

Part Ways With Your Client and Move On

Once your client has made the final decision to leave, it’s best to just accept it and move on. This is a final chance to support your client and wish them well, even if you disagree with their course of action. Be kind and polite, and do whatever you can to make the transition easier

And then, remind yourself that you did your best for your client and that their choice to leave doesn’t mean you need to be hard on yourself. Having clients leave is just something that happens occasionally. Let it be, and focus your time and attention on the rest of your clients.

Prepare for Difficult Client Conversations

Sometimes being a financial planner includes having tough conversations with your clients. One of those challenging situations is when a client decides to close their accounts or switch to a different financial planner. 

Although it can be hard, the best thing to do in this situation is to remind yourself that your client has the final say in their life and their finances. Even if you disagree with their choice, you can still support their right to make it. Once you gain that perspective, it’s easier to offer advice (if your client requests it) or simply part ways on good terms.

One of the best ways to learn how to handle those difficult client conversations is to watch an experienced financial planner do so. And that’s exactly what you can do when you subscribe to Amplified Planning. 

As a subscriber, you’ll get to watch videos of real-life client meetings, including those with challenging conversations. Subscribe to Amplified Planning today and start leveling up your communication skills so you’re ready for the next time you need to have a difficult conversation with a client.