I Don’t Like One of My Clients

Beverly Flaxington is a practice management consultant. She answers questions from advisors facing human resource issues. To submit yours, email us here.

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Dear Bev,

Have you encountered advisors who work with clients they don’t like? I have a new client who was referred by a long-time client, for whom I have great respect. He asked if I would work with a colleague of his who had recently gone through a divorce and had some significant wealth.

I met with this gentleman, “Guy,” and we had a good meeting. He clearly needed help that we could provide. He engaged us about three months ago. Based on the time we’ve worked together, I do not enjoy or like him. He is a big gun-nut and many meetings all he wants to do is talk about his guns. In a recent meeting, I made the error (I learned later it was an error) of asking him about legacy and about philanthropy. I won’t use his exact language (because your editor would strike it), but he isn’t someone who wants to give money away to anyone. He became enraged that I would suggest his money should take care of “namby-pamby’s” who don’t work for what they have. I did not suggest a charity, or talk about the importance of giving money away; I inquired as part of our process if he wanted to explore this.

I made a mistake in taking on Guy. But I don’t know how to undo it without making my client look bad. I fear Guy is the type of person who would go back and take it out on my client.

Is there a way to manage this? Do other advisors deal with this and what strategies are there to minimize the impact? I suck down a handful of Tums every time I get off Zoom or the phone with Guy. Luckily, he is a couple of states away, so we don’t have many in-person meetings, except when I first met him. But even with the distance he upsets me very much.