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How To Say No When Someone Asks For Your Senior Adviser Specifically

A client recently had a referral come through where the prospect was asking specifically to meet with a particular adviser they asked for by name.

They popped me through a question about how to deal with this. I thought this might be something others have faced, so I wanted to share.

Start with why

So, the first question I always have is why are they asking for the named adviser specifically.

Without knowing anything about the nature of the referral, the ideal situation is that someone is being referred to a business rather than a person, in the same way, you would rather someone is referred to you to get advice rather than insurance.

If this is happening multiple times, it may be worth a discussion with the referrers so they understand that you work as a team – which is the only way, as a business, you’re able to help clients the way you do – and as such when you’re advising clients, everyone in the business operates as a team, delivers the same outcomes and is highly capable.

It’s about the transition from being

  1. a person that creates value, to
  2. a team that delivers value, to
  3. a brand, system and methodology that delivers value.

However, that’s about what to do to fix it in future. The original question is about how to deal with it now.


When it comes up, rather than fire back at it I think starting by asking,

“[Other Adviser] is one of our best advisers. Is there a specific reason you’d like to see [Named Adviser]?”

Try and understand more about why they feel they must see the senior adviser and talk to that directly.


Address it simply with a CHANGE- BENEFIT- OFFSET approach.

  1. Outline where things are different by saying, “[Senior Adviser] isn’t seeing new clients at the moment”
  2. Talk about why this is a good thing. “We’ve been expanding as a business; part of that is adding to the team. [New Adviser] is part of that, and he/she is fantastic at what they do, in particular, specialises in [area they may be better]”
  3. Offset any concerns by saying, “I also know [New Adviser] and [Named Adviser] and the team works together in the background on everything, so it’s not like you won’t be working with [Named Adviser], if that makes sense”


There’s also an element of whether you want to take on clients who aren’t going to go with you on the journey as your business model evolves.

At the end of the day, if every client insists on working with one particular adviser because that’s how it’s been done so far, it’s going to be hard to grow, so you could even just go with:

[Named Adviser] isn’t taking on new clients at the moment, but you would be meeting with [New Adviser], an excellent adviser and member of the team. Would you like me to make an appointment?”


In short:

  1. Are others referring to the person or the business (i.e. that person + the team)? If it’s the former, change it.
  2. When someone has asked for a particular adviser, try to understand why they feel that person is the one they should see and unpack that. You may even find they don’t actually have an attachment to the person. It’s just who they were told to speak to.
  3. Explain why things have changed, why it’s better and why the thing they’re worried about losing/ not getting may not be valid.
  4. Alternatively, present the way it’s happening now and ask them if they’d like to proceed. If not, maybe they’re not the right fit for where your business is at and is headed.

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