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What do you do when a client does not take your advice?

Advisers pride themselves on their knowledge of the industry and their clients and the advice that they give based on that knowledge. Does it matter to an adviser if the advice provided to a client is either not acted upon in a timely manner or, perhaps, sparks a client to act in a manner inconsistent with the advice?

Of course it does. The reaction by the adviser to such client behavior probably depends both on the nature of the advice provided and the results to the client following the client’s contrary action or inaction. If the client was right, it might be best to let that go and not take it personally. In fact, it might be an opportunity to learn something. If the client’s course of action causes the client a loss or worse, it might be useful to give the client a gentle reminder of why they have hired you. If the problem occurs again, then your best course might be to let that client move on. You will be able to say with sincerity that you feel the client would be better off working with someone else since your approach and advice – what you get paid for – does not seem to fit in with what that particular client prefers.

It is easy to talk about firing a client but, in other than extreme cases, is it easy actually to do it? Though some advisers have fired clients, it is always difficult to give up a known ongoing relationship, particularly where the revenue is important to the adviser. Do not underestimate inertia as a response even if working with a specific client might be annoying. One approach is to at least annually review all of your clients and evaluate the working relationship, the revenue produced, the opportunity to grow the relationship and the level of service that each client demands. Certainly a client that is more work than he or she is worth is a prime candidate to let go. Where the client has a history of moving from adviser to adviser then the absence of loyalty will be another adverse factor. 

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