“Good is not Good enough” is what this Distributor learnt the Hard Way.

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.

Akshay Shetty has been in the Life Insurance and Mutual Fund business for the last 20 years. He always felt that he was sorted as he had a great relationship with his clients. That relationship was tested 1 month back when he lost a 13-year client in 1 meeting with a new financial consultant. 

Murli Ramanathan, a middle-aged IT professional is Akshay’s friend (school buddies) and then a client for 13 years. Murli had started with a Rs.3000 SIP in 2007 and slowly increased it to Rs.70000 per month. He had bought a few insurance policies also from Akshay. Overall things were fine and Murli seemed to be happy with what he was getting (till Murli met Ravi, a smart financial advisor).

Ravi was introduced to Murli through a Corporate Program that Murli attended and he liked the concept of Goal-based Investing that Ravi was speaking about. They got speaking and decided to go through an initial discussion to explore things further. Ravi insisted that they meet Murli and his wife together as a couple.

The meeting started with going through their financial goals. They had never discussed financial goals and struggled to set their initial goals. However, one of the key aspirations that Murli had was to retire (early) in the next 10 years and he was curious to know if he could do that. He thought he had saved well but was not sure if he could really do it. “How much is enough for me to maintain my lifestyle for the rest of my life?” was Murli’s key question.

Ravi walked the couple through their remaining financial goals and then looked at the investments they had done till date, their income, and expenses. Ravi walked them through a visual experience and voila magic happened. The couple was speechless and Murli said “Wow I can’t believe we can achieve this dream of mine in 9 years”. 

This encouraged them to look at other goals namely children’s education and marriage. This was possible too and they could comfortably look to retire in 10 years and achieve their other goals.

Murli then said “Akshay is a good friend of mine and he is a good advisor. He seemed good at choosing the funds and doing the transactions. He could not do anything beyond that. Money is a means to an end and I always wondered when I could retire and how much was enough for me. Akshay could never have those conversations with me. He could tell me this product and this performance, but I was looking for something else. I never knew something like this existed. Why doesn’t everyone do what you are doing? I am going to tell Akshay to speak with you so you can help him become a version of you (I am sure this will help him too).”

Just think about this. The client was a friend of the advisor and was with him for 13 years. However good the Mutual Fund advisor was, he was not good enough for the client’s Real Needs. Akshay was safe till Murli had not met Ravi. The day they met for a discussion is when Akshay lost a valuable client. Murli went on to do a SIP of 2 Lakh and a One-time investment of Rs.45 Lakh. Not just this, Murli also gave Ravi 3 introductions (of his work colleagues) with a very strong recommendation.

Is your strategy that your clients do not meet folks like Ravi? Well Hope is not a Strategy and you certainly got to do better than that. 

Your client is someone else’s prospect and so Hoping and Praying that your clients do not meet smart people like Ravi is a recipe for disaster. Well you can crib and cry about it. 

Akshay however realized that he had to do something before losing more clients. He just could not believe that he lost such an old client in just 1 meeting. He also realized that Ravi knew more about Murli and his situation than he had in the last 13 years. 

He also met up with Ravi and they discussed how Ravi can help him learn this skill and protect his business. This is an era of collaboration and Akshay was smart enough to at least realize this now. He is using the Coronavirus lockdown to go through a coaching program at Ravi’s firm and learning the skills that will prepare him for the future.

It is best to learn from the mistakes of others. Some people however only learn best when they get kicked themselves. 

I love this quote by Rahm Emanuel “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.” and you should take the Coronavirus crisis as an opportunity to introspect on your business and do something to protect your business.