Balancing Compassion and Resolve: A Strategy for Success


Advisors often have big hearts and want to accommodate everyone. But that can be a problem. Not even Jesus took that approach.

  • Stick to your process and set criteria for who qualifies to be a part of your flock.
  • Don’t capitulate, telling yourself it’s all right because it’s only a one-time exception, especially when you have a niggling feeling this could eventually backfire.
  • Be comfortable saying no if they don’t have the right attitude and approach to be one of your ideal clients.

Related: What Can I Do Today? Small Steps for Big Success


Advisors often have big hearts and want to accommodate everyone, but not even Jesus took that approach.

When advisors relate challenges they’re having with existing clients, I ask them why they brought them on in the first place. They say, “I don’t know. I just wanted to help, but I should have listened more intently to learn more about them out of the gate.”

And that’s often the problem. We have great hearts as advisors. . .

We genuinely know the help we can provide, the professionalism we can offer. And we know what the family or what the prospect needs most. However, unwittingly, we can overlook potential issues and challenges, not really hearing where the prospect is coming from, and immediately admit them into our flock without much consideration of hints that they may not be a good fit. And that frequently leads to issues.

Not even Jesus did that. In the Bible, in Mark chapter 10, we see where Jesus is approached by a young guy asking him, “Hey, how can I be part of what you’re offering? How can I be a part of what you’re all about?” And, very clearly, Jesus doesn’t just quickly allow him in as one of his followers. It says that Jesus loved him, but he also wanted to get to the core issues at the foundation of this person’s heart. And so Jesus challenged this man to do what he needed to do most. As advisors, we have to make sure we listen to what prospects are asking for and then, if necessary, challenge them; be prepared to push back if we know that’s not what they really need or will be best for them in their situation.

Again, in Mark chapter 10 it says that Jesus looked at him and loved him. He had compassion for this guy. But even in having compassion for him, Jesus was not going to permit the young man to follow him the way the man wanted to do it. He had to follow Jesus Jesus’ way. And, likewise, any prospect who wants to come on board and become your client needs to follow you your way.

This means

  1. You have a process. You need to know exactly what you’ll accept from people and who you’ll accept into your flock.

  2. Don’t capitulate. Don’t make exceptions for just this one time, just for this one family, when you’re thinking while you’re sitting there, this is probably going to explode on me later on down the track.

  3. Be comfortable saying no. Be comfortable letting that person see you are not going to capitulate on your standards. You can simply finish the conversation off by saying something like, “When you’re ready to work our way and when you’re ready to see what’s most important, please shoot me an email, and we’ll set up another time for a conversation and see where we go from there.” Don’t say to them, “Let me know when you’re ready to work our way, and we’ll start working together.” No! It’s not going to be automatic—they have to have the right attitude to get through your gate. You need to know that they will, indeed, follow what you say.

Yes, it’s their money, but it is also their life, and you need to realize they are looking to you to provide the guidance they need. You are the expert. Develop conviction for your process and help that client most effectively, doing it your way.

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