Are you solving your Real Problem?

Amar Pandit , CFA , CFP

Amar Pandit

A respected entrepreneur with 25+ years of Experience, Amar Pandit is the Founder of several companies that are making a Happy difference in the lives of people. He is currently the Founder of Happyness Factory, a world-class online investment & goal-based financial planning platform through which he aims to help every Indian family save and invest wisely. He is very passionate about spreading financial literacy and is the author of 4 bestselling books (+ 2 more to release in 2020), 8 Sketch Books, Board Game and 700 + columns.

One of the critical areas that all IFA firms have been hit is Revenue. Most firms have seen a drop of 30-50% in revenue. I will not get into the reasons as you know why this has happened. The key is what are you going to do about it.

Just think about this – If your revenue drops by 30%, you must grow 43% to get back to where you are. If your revenue has dropped 50%, you must grow 100% to get back to where you are. While some people will use HOPE as a strategy and wish that markets recover, others have to do something irrespective of whether the markets go up or not.

I was speaking to an advisor (Aditya) the other day and I was amazed at the number of webinars he was attending. He was super busy but that is completely different from being super productive. Though we all have time now, we are busier than ever.

So, I asked him “It’s great that you are busy but are you being productive in terms of addressing your real problem. What do you think is your real problem?” He thought for a full minute and there was an uncomfortable silence and he finally responded, “My revenue is down by 40% and I am unable to acquire new clients or get any new business.” I am sure many would be able to relate to this situation and it seems like this is the real problem.

I told him “Ok. That is fine. I see that you have understood the consequences of your problems. Let me explain. You are unable to acquire clients is the consequence/effect/output of the problem and not the cause of your problem. I mean you know that your result is D (not able to acquire clients) but why is that result D. You have not answered that. Let me ask you this now. Why are you unable to acquire clients NOW? Do you see the point here? The real problem is something else. So, what’s your real problem?”

He then said “I think I am unable to meet new people, or I don’t know what to tell prospects online. I am just waiting for the lockdown to be over so I can go out and meet. This lockdown is just getting extended”. I asked him “Why are you waiting for the lockdown to be lifted? Why can’t you reach out to people now? What is stopping you? You have the same playing field as any other IFA and yet some IFAs (very few) are doing well and allocating new assets. So, what is your problem?

I asked him if I could be candid with him based on what I had seen in his business. Aditya was quick to respond “Yes, of course I need your frank opinion as I want to improve.” I told him “Let me then tell you that the real problem is “YOU. The problem is not in this business or regulation or markets. The markets have always been like this (volatile). In the last 10 years, there have been so many regulatory changes at an astonishing pace. All the changes have been happening for a long time. What has not changed and is still outdated is Your Value Proposition and Your Skills. So, the real problem is Your inability to unlearn old habits, learn new ones and adapt to change”.

The need of the hour for you is to get on a rapid revenue recovery path. You know that this is the solution for you. According to a McKinsey column “Rapid Revenue Response isn’t just a way to survive the crisis. What companies do today to capture revenue quickly lays the foundation for future growth”.

What do you think you need to do to rapidly Recover Revenue? Do you need more Assets or more Clients? What do you need to do to get more Assets or More Clients?

The need of the hour for most IFAs is to do the following:

  1. Figure out where your Ideal Prospects are and do creative things to reach out to them with an offer to help. This is not a Sales Call but a Leadership one and one where you are giving and not expecting anything in return.
  2. Communicating with your Existing Clients regularly and being a pillar of support to them.
  3. Learning New Skills that will add value to your Business. The Art of having conversations is one such skill. How to acquire clients digitally is yet another Skill? Attending Webinars after Webinars on Markets, Products and generic stuff that does not impact you directly is not learning a new skill. It’s the difference between attending a conference or virtual meeting of 40 speakers saying things (and confusing you even more) and attending a course run by specialists who excel in the craft.
  4. Figuring out your Strategy Enabled by Digital. Assuming the lockdown continues and even if it does not, people will be very careful in meeting people when things can be done digitally. Prospects and Clients are far more comfortable meeting ONLINE now. Just think about it, Telemedicine is becoming such a Big Thing that everyone is rushing into it. Doctors as well as patients are adopting this worldwide. Why can’t you? Tele Wealth or Tele Investing (Delivered by you) is the Future too.

Now think about this. How much time out of your busy schedule are you spending on these things? Let us do a quick analysis. We spent some time and figured that Aditya was spending less than 10% of his time on these activities.

Finally, I leave you with these 2 wonderful quotes:

Nothing is less productive than to make more efficient what should not be done at all.

Peter Drucker

The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.

Stephen Covey