What If Someone Offers You Only One Account of Their Several?


If someone offers you only one account of their several, is it a foot in the door or a foot closer to the cliff edge?

This is often a dilemma faced by advisors, especially newer advisors who just want to grab assets as quickly as possible and believe this can be a great first step to get more of that household wealth.

But you need to be careful. Oftentimes if somebody is offering you one account of their five or six, they are predicating it purely on performance and how well you do. That means in their eyes, you’re simply a market-watcher, somebody who’s just trying to outperform the stock market. That’s not how you want to set yourself up in their minds. You bring incredible value to what that family needs, and just getting a portion of what they have doesn’t allow you to then manage their whole picture.

It would be kind of like going to a dentist for the first time and saying, “Hey, you know what? I’m going to let you work on my bottom teeth this time, and if you do a really great job and I’m happy, I’ll bring back all my teeth next time, and you can work on the top and bottom teeth.” No dentist is going to accommodate that kind of conversation, and I think we pretty much know exactly what their comments would be after you stated that.

It can be so tempting just to grab quick assets and tell yourself, “But it’s a great first step to get in the entire relationship.” People need to work the way that you do. You need that structure in place, and you need conviction for that process and for conveying it to them in such a way that they understand it’s either all or nothing. While it can be tempting to grab a little piece of a massive amount, that can lead to huge problems down the track. So,

  1. Communicate clearly how you work. You take a holistic perspective to people’s wealth management, to their retirement plans. It’s important that you have everything that they have so you can guide them most effectively.
  2. Stick to that. Don’t be tempted to rush after a seemingly neat first account, thinking that you’re going to then have access to the next four or five accounts that they have.
  3. If they don’t adhere to this, let them walk. You’ve got to remember, you’re putting yourself out as a fiduciary. If you are trying to just watch over one account of their six when you can’t see the other five, what kind of fiduciary responsibility is that? You have no control over their entire picture, and that’s ideally what you want.

If they’re not going to adhere to that, let them go and know you’re now one person closer to finding that ideal client who will come on board and let you along with them, take care of everything they have.

Related: Don’t Swim in Dangerous Waters With Prospects