Either you clicked on this blog because you already know what PITA stands for or you clicked on it because you’re wondering what in the hell could a PITA client be? PITA stands for Pain. In. The. A**.  So why am I challenging you to stop working with them? Because they’re not worth your time and energy. They’re often times highly demanding and they tend to have little regard to the fact that you serve other people and not just them. I have a process to screen my clients so I know that both of us can gain a meaningful relationship. I understand that sometimes a big prospect walks in your office and you’re blinded by the potential growth of your business so you’re willing to allow yourself to become subject to a PITA. But I’m here to help you recognize a PITA, drill home why you absolutely should not work with a PITA, and what to do if I’m too late and you already have a PITA client.

How to spot a PITA

So your prospect walks into your office. You immediately sense the rigid and guarded energy from him/her and you can already tell that they’re going to be hard to please. You sit down and start by trying to get to know them by asking them questions about themselves, their family, and eventually delving into the intimate topic of money. Your prospect argues with you. Red Flag. Your prospect asks you how you’re going to make them more money than the next guy. Red Flag. Your prospect is secretive and they’re answers aren’t adding up. Red Flag. After your meeting, your prospect won’t provide you with the information you need and they’re not participating. Red Flag. If your gut tells you to run, RUN. Try not to allow yourself to be blinded by the potential growth. A PITA could end up taking a lot of your time. Your time is valuable and I would challenge you to treat it as such.

Know Your Worth

If you have the desire to grow yourself into a productive and efficient financial advisor, then you must understand how valuable you are first.  So what is your value proposition? The simple math is just dividing your desired income, we’ll say a million dollars, by the average annual hours you plan to work on your business. If that’s 2000 hours annually than your time is worth $500 per hour, 2500 hours is worth $400 and so on. It quickly becomes easy to see that spending a lot of your time on tasks that aren’t bringing value to your clients and your business is costly. So taking on PITA clients is not only a drag but very, very expensive. By screening the people you work with, it allows your additional time to be redirected to high impact business activities like working with the right clients and prospects that will value you and your time and also bring value to your business.

How to Stop Working for a PITA

There are a couple things you can do to stop working for your PITA client gracefully. The first is to find someone else to take them. Politely explain that you aren’t able to keep them as clients but you have a highly recommended advisor who would be happy to have them. The second is to raise your rates. Beware that your PITA client might still choose to work with you after you’ve raised your rates. If this is the case, I would suggest you directly fire them. Politely explain to them the situation, focus on their interests and what’s best for them, and suggest some next steps while reiterating that you won’t be able to keep them as clients. Not only does this allow you more time to focus on what matters but it’s also liberating to eliminate problems that aren’t worth your time.

Hopefully, these tips will help you deal with your PITA clients and bring value to your business. Remember to handle situations like these gracefully because burning bridges can hurt you later on.

If you found this article helpful, be sure to check out “80-90% of widows change financial advisors: 3 things we can learn from this.”

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