Don’t Be Afraid To Say, “We Actually Don’t Work That Way”


If people want to work with you, but only on their terms, it’s not going to be a good fit. Be confident in sticking to your process and respectfully explain why you don’t work that way.

  • Don’t be dismissive, acting like they’re not worth your time or consideration. With a little education, they still might be a great client for you.
  • Use a vivid analogy to clearly explain why you don’t work the way they are suggesting.
  • Finish on a positive note, offering them hope. Let them know you’re excited about their future prospects and you’d love to help them create their success story when they’re ready to commit to the way you work.

Related: Avoid the Dreaded ‘Just Calling To Follow Up?’ Language


Don’t be afraid to say, “We actually don’t work that way,” and then follow it up with a super-memorable analogy.

Last week an advisor mentioned an acquaintance came to him, met with him, and said, “How about I give you this much to begin working with?”

I asked him how he responded, and he relayed, “I said I’d like to talk with my partner about it before I came back to him with a definitive answer. . .

” That wasn’t a really great answer. You need to be confident and show people that’s just not going to work because here’s how we work. You need to have that conviction for your process. And obviously, to do this most effectively, you must have a set, consistent process.

To best explain the reason you stick to your process, use an analogy that’s going to stay top of mind for your prospects. For instance, when you mention, “We just don’t work that way,” you can follow up with, “It’s kind of like giving a painter five gallons of paint and asking them to do the best job possible. They might do a phenomenal job with the five gallons you gave them, but your house is going to really look messy!” Or, “Imagine using Google Maps with portions of it missing. At that point, you can’t deal with gas mileage. You can’t project that. You don’t know how to estimate the appropriate time that it’s going to take you to reach your destination. When pieces are missing, it is really a cause for concern, so much so that we’ve simply learned that we don’t want to go down that track. We work with people and their entire picture. Even sometimes when they don’t necessarily bring everything to us, it’s super important to accurately know the lay of the land.”

By saying something like this, you’re giving prospects a very clear analogy that is going top of mind with them. The next time they’re driving down the road and see a house being painted, you’ll come back to their mind, and they’ll remember what you said describing how you work. Or the next time they use Google Maps, believe me, you’ll come back to mind for them because of the analogy you gave them.

You need to get comfortable providing these types of analogies. So,

  1. Don’t be dismissive. When you have an initial conversation with someone, and you know you can’t work together the way they’re saying they want to, don’t just write them off. If they are someone you’d actually like to work with, don’t act as if they are not worthy of your attention or consideration.

  2. Have language ready to respectfully, but clearly, explain why you don’t work that way. Let them know you don’t work that way because you’ve seen how those kinds of scenarios typically end up.

  3. Finish with hope. You’re not simply dismissing them, and you can let them know you’d like to work with them, but doing it your way. Tell them, “When you’re ready to commit fully, we’d love to have you on board. Everything you’ve mentioned to us today has us excited about what might be in your financial future and the choices you might have available to you. We’d love to work with you and be part of that story. This is how we work now, and we’d love to stay connected with you so you know you can call on us to be of help to you.” Then let them know how to do that.

That’s how you want to wrap up a conversation where a prospect wants to dictate how they want you to work. Don’t compromise on your process; it will come back to bite you, and you’ll regret it. Let such prospects know what they need to do if they want to work with you, and then move on to that next person who will work exactly your way.

I look forward to bringing you another Distraction-Proof Advisor Idea next week.