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Once A Messer

30 April 2024

FINANCIAL PLANNERS – Not all clients are good clients and not all fees are equal, even if they are for the same amount.

Most of your clients will be engaging, reliable, thankful, considerate and most of all, a pleasure to assist.

But there are some, not many, but some, that will suck your time, suck your energy, and suck your life.

  • They will endeavour to subvert your process with their disorganisation.
  • They will treat your time and schedule with disrespect.
  • They will bring their chaos into your business and your life.
  • They will be, as my old friend Paul Armson used to say, a ‘Messer’.

We all have Messer’s in our life.

Look around your friends, family and colleagues and you will see them.

  • The ones that inflict collateral damage on everyone else through their lack of organisation, flakiness, and chaos.
  • The ones that say they’re going on your carefully planned trip and then bow out at the last minute.
  • The ones that say they’ll meet you for dinner at 8 and then turn up at 10, all in a fluster because yet another life crisis has occurred.
  • The ones who will blow up someone else’s special day and make it about them, without any sense of outward shame.

Unfortunately, in life, you do need to live with, work with and socialise with these people.

But you don’t need them as clients.

In your business life, it is like throwing a hand grenade into your carefully crafted machine.

  • They’ll cancel meetings at short notice. Repeatedly.
  • They’ll not do the tasks they were supposed to do, rendering your process inert or making your next meeting pointless, and then complaining later about ‘How long it is taking’.
  • They’ll tell you they don’t care about the detail in your reports until one day they do, and their letter of complaint will paint a very different picture than what actually happened.
  • They’ll just generally be unreasonable – and they can’t see it because it is just their way.

But you can.

From day one you can see the signs.

  • They turn up late to your session or turn up alone despite agreeing that they’d bring their partner.
  • They cancel at the last minute because ‘Something came up’.
  • They won’t return your agreements when they said they would but expect you to start work on their case anyway. Then they’ll lose them.

And if you’re early in your business career, the temptation is to engage every client. After all, you have bills to pay, and some revenue is better than none right?

It’s only after you’ve had a few years’ experience with Messer’s that you realise they don’t make you any profit – in fact, they suck the profit out of your business. And the fun.

But still….

The temptation is to think that you can save them. That you can help them see the error of their ways. That you can fix them.

You can’t.

Once a Messer, always a Messer. – Software, Training & Business Services for Financial Planners


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