Does Focusing on New Sales Have to Hurt Existing 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,

I have been in the banking business for a long time. My relationships are built on trust – they take years to cultivate and a screw-up by my organization can mean another few months or years of building back lost trust. I have been very successful establishing high-value relationships and keeping clients happy.

Lately our management has been focused on new sales. It’s all about “net-new” numbers and not client retention. I don’t think they understand that if we don’t watch our clients, they’ll leave out the back door while we put our focus on bringing net new in the front door. I’ve tried to have this conversation with our CEO but he keeps telling me “it’s all about the numbers.” I get that – we get paid because clients pay us but the existing clients also pay us.

Is there a better way to make the point that numbers are numbers no matter who contributes to them? I don’t believe he is hearing what I am saying and I don’t want to be perceived as a naysayer or someone who isn’t on board.


Dear D.W.,

You pose an issue that I frequently encounter in our industry. It appears as if there are only two options – focus on existing clients and take care of them or on new business and finding new opportunities and let the existing clients languish and fend for themselves! It does not have to be so black and white, but it is common to have the conversation end there.