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It's Not You, It's Me

3 April 2024

FINANCIAL PLANNERS – Getting clients to say ‘Yes’ is one thing. Learning to say ‘No’ is another.

I get it.

It’s hard enough to find clients as it is, so saying ‘No’ to them doesn’t come easily – especially when you have bills to pay.

But just because a client wants to sign up to your Financial Planning service doesn’t mean you should.

We need to use our professional judgement, as there’s many occasions when we need the commercial maturity to say ‘No’.

Here’s four of them:

  1. Circumstances: Your client is just not in the right life space or headspace for your service right now. Maybe they’ve just lost a loved one or are going through a traumatic time with their health. No matter how good your service is, their minds are in survival mode and won’t take anything in.
  2. Resources: They love what you do, and you feel all warm and rosy inside. But it’s patently clear that they don’t have the resources to pay your fees. A client who can’t pay isn’t a client, they’re a future debtor.
  3. Value: No matter how good your service is, sometimes the client’s situation means that you won’t add enough value to them to justify your fees. Yes, they’d like to work with you and yes, you’d like to work with them, but it’s just not proportionate and you are the one with the knowledge to see that.
  4. Relationship: Some clients just aren’t nice to work with. Maybe there’s a clash of personalities or a disconnect in how you see the relationship. That’s OK. It doesn’t make them bad or you difficult, you’re just not meant for each other. Better to leave on a handshake now than in tears later.


Using your professional judgement to work out WHEN to say ‘No’ is one thing.

The other is knowing HOW to say ‘No’.

Simply saying ‘No’, isn’t a solution.

The client is still flapping in the breeze with the same problem they had before they came to see you.

You’ve had the professional maturity to see that your service isn’t for them. And if you can see that your service isn’t a good fit, you should be able to see whose service would be.

No matter what you think of your competitors and other statutory services, that shouldn’t stand in the way of you guiding a client towards them, if their services are more aligned to the client’s needs than yours.

Don’t let pride in your own service stretch into disdain for others. If the client isn’t right for you, they’re right for someone else. End with a positive disengagement and a route to the solution.

Turnover comes from the clients you take on.

Profit comes from those you don’t.

Goodwill comes from those you refer. – Software, Training & Business Services for Financial Planners


  • End-to-End Lifestyle Financial Planning Process & Software
  • Full Financial Planner Back Office System
  • Coaching for Financial Planners


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