How Can Financial Advisors Deal With Difficult People Without Being Combative Even When Dealing With Highly Defensive & Confrontational Customers

How Can Financial Advisors Deal With Difficult People Without Being Combative Even When Dealing With Highly Defensive & Confrontational CustomersThe benchmark for any successful financial advisor is to be able  to clearly listen and fully understand the clients’ financial goals, and then using critical thinking to help the clients meet those goals.

However, it is not as easy as it sounds though. Most time, you will have to encounter difficult clients who often are disinterested and impassive towards you and your product/service. Trying to not be combative and retain composure in situation like these is challenging.

Worry not, this article will help you understand the type of difficult clients you will have to face and how to handle them. Also equip you with right traits you need to deal with difficult people. Plus, you will uncover the secrets to turning difficult clients to loyal customer.


1)  The Complaining Client

This customer always has something negative to say. These are the most common and hardest customer to deal with.

The solution: Be attentive and give a sense of empathy

  • Remind your clients that they are important to your company.
  • Make them feel valued, and invite them to fill out a feedback survey that can be used to improve your product/ service.
  • If abuse has gone too far for example in the case of threats, make sure to document the conversation and report it to a supervisor.

2) The Demanding Client

They may demand things that you may not be able to deliver. It is common for clients to be demanding, even loyal clients.For example, client may say they would buy a financial package or bundle that was customized for a specific time in life.

This is because today’s consumers are used to receiving personalized offers and customized solutions to meet their needs. The insurance industry is certainly no exception as this comes from a sense of entitlement.

The solution: Compromise

  • Do consider their demands if it reasonable  and talk to the superior to see what could be done
  • Do the best you can to meet the client’s’ expectations
  • Keep reminding  them know that you are working hard to meet their expectations.

3) The Unresponsive Client

This type of client may go from chatty to completely silent within minutes or be distracted by their phone or social media. This makes it difficult to know what to do because you want to be of assistance but they are not present.

For example, they may have been distracted by a call or email while in conversation with you

The solution: Give Them Space

  • Log out of the call session after a certain length of time
  • If it’s an online chat, have an automatic email sent to the client with further options like phone, email, or self-service.
  • Remember, be sure to check in a few times first to confirm whether or not the client is available before ending a chat.

4) The Confused Client

This are the clients who are unclear with the  process or product. They may not know what they want, hence makes the process of helping them very difficult, and at times frustrating.

For example, if a client the client may not know what difference between the the plans you offer and your competitors offers.

The solution: Be Completely Honest in Opinion

  • Your opinion should be backed up by data or proof
  • Use other what clients have told you about their experience with your product or service as an example

5) The Vague Client

This is the customer that just doesn’t offer enough details. For example, this customer may tell you they have a problem with their current health insurance package but not clearly stating what is bothering them.

They expect a solution without revealing too much but how do you get the right information without being annoying or rude?

The solution: Ask specific questions, and prime them with answers.

  • For example, in the situation above, Ask like “Is there a problem with the plan or payment?”
  • Give the customer options to choose and narrow down to the solution.
  • Do not offer the right answer instead come up with alternative possibilities

6) The Impatient Client

These clients insist that they could do what you do ten times faster while blindfolded.

They may not be as picky about other issues, but they are certainly in a hurry while in a meeting with you and like to remind you they have a schedule to adhere to.

The solution: Offer more self-service options

  • This way your customers can feel like they have a faster route to resolution.
  • For example, a customer may want her question addressed quickly and efficiently about your the length of the coverage of your travel insurance policy. She can go through the comprehensive FAQ and search for her question to find a solution without the aid of an operator.


Client satisfaction is essential for a successful financial advisory practice,  so here few traits you need to excel in that.

1. Reflective listening

Understand what the other person is saying by interpreting their words and their body language. Then, respond by reflecting the thoughts and feelings you heard back to your customer

2. Personalization

The ‘affect heuristic’ is a mental shortcut that helps you make quick and  efficient decisions based on how you feeling and surroundings Simply put, it’s the fact that we all made decisions and judgments based on our worldviews and experiences.

In these situations, objective facts carry little weight for us. Instead, we run the decision or situation through our experience and develop our own opinions based on what we already know.

3. Emphatical

Also known as the zen mind strategy of approaching every situation as if you are the client. The zen mind also means you let go of being an expert and create a closeness with the client

So, when you adopt this way of thinking, you enter every conversation with the “don’t know” mind, which keeps you from prejudging a customer or their situation.

4. Fearless

If a client is being difficult, you most probably are afraid to challenge them because it  might risk the relationship. Hence you try to fix the situation. First, let go of the idea that you need to fix anything.

When sitting down with a difficult customer, your job is to listen, understand, and discern next steps, not to immediately produce a solution.

So, instead of apologizing, slapping together a mediocre fix, or validating feelings, offer a constructive solution.

5. Systematic

The ability to take a big problem and breaking it into several smaller, more manageable portions. Simply seeing each problem as smaller rather one huge chunk can make it easier for your customer to digest what’s left to do as well

6. Calm

Actively listen to your customer, and repeat back what you hear them say. Once they’ve finished, thank them for communicating their frustration, and explain you’ll get back to them with a solution.

Your customer will have time to cool off, and you can speak to your manager about next steps.

7.  Emotional Intelligence

How you react under fire impacts the future of your customer relationships.Treating someone with disdain can reflect negatively on you and your company, so reputation management should always be top of mind.

Remember, people will often mirror the emotional signals you emit. If you respond with hostility and anger, don’t expect friendliness and understanding in return.


  1. Never say or write anything that can be used against you.
  2. Always resolve disputes in person or over the phone.
  3. Don’t pinpoint the blame on the client if something goes wrong
  4. Do not Email as it is not an effective tool for hashing out disagreements.
  5. If a client starts insulting you, remind yourself that it’s not personal.
  6. If the customer gets louder, start speaking more slowly and in a lower tone.
  7. Have a script ready prior to meeting a client
  8. Offer solutions with positive sentence structures.
  9. Once you have resolved their main issue, ask if there is any other way you can help
  10. Express your genuine thought and willingness to help