The Next Step

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.

I received a fantastic response to my last Friday’s Nano “This is Key for you to Thrive in the Next 3, 10 and 30 years”. There were 2 common responses given by many of you and there were a few outliers. Though I have written to each one of you, I thought of addressing a few key points and helping you take the next step.

The 2 areas where many said they were uncomfortable (but want to get comfortable with) were

  1. Marketing
  2. Doing a Time Audit of their Time Asset Allocation. The point here was that we feel busy but know we are not productive.

A couple of people also said they wanted to learn the Art of Powerful Conversations while one person (let us call her Uma) said something very interesting. Uma said “I am most uncomfortable about the fact that after putting a lot of effort in convincing a client to invest through me. They just will not pick up the phone and avoid me. So, I mostly do the comfortable thing, reach out to my existing clients, and have conversations. In a way, I am too slow in increasing my client base.”  This is yet another example of doing things to be busy but not productive.

First, I must congratulate and thank all of you who have taken the effort to write to me. It is a first small step and if you continue your journey taking 1 step at a time, I am super confident that no one can stop you from building a world class firm. Like always, I am personally there to support you and committed to your success.

Coming back to Uma, let us look at her problem. Her real problem is Marketing. In fact, Marketing is the single most problem of advisors/distributors world-wide. However, instead of solving this problem, she spent (and not invested) her time speaking with existing clients. While this is great (and keeps her busy), like she has realized, this will not move the needle for her. Yes, there are ways for your clients to help you in your Marketing. However, it all depends on the way you have positioned yourself, set expectations with the client, your ability to deliver on your value proposition and your overall relationship. Thus, this all comes back to Marketing.

I asked her the following questions to think and so should you.

  1. Why are they not picking up the phone or responding to you?
  2. Have they understood the value you are bringing to them or the role you are playing in their life?
  3. Are you the best they have spoken so far? Have you delivered a Wow experience to them?

Based on what I see here and with most people, the problem is either speaking with the wrong set of prospects who will not appreciate your value proposition or your inability to communicate your role and the value that you will add to them. These are the reasons why prospects will avoid you or not pick up the phone. This again comes back to Marketing and thus the next step for you is to ask yourself this simple thing “What’s the one thing that I need to do now in Marketing that will move the needle for me?” In short, you are asking “What’s Important Now? (WIN) in Marketing” Remember the WIN Question.

The sad part is that Marketing is rarely understood, and most people think of it as the shiny object or a thing to be done (tactic). For example, let me do some LinkedIn Posts, some videos, or some Digital Marketing. What is the flavour of the month? Do not be conned into this as this is not really going to help. Yes, you might get some leads but again they will not pick up the phone or avoid you. This leads more people to focus on appearing busy. Some people spend hour after hour attending product and market related webinars thinking this will solve their problem. I can guarantee you one thing. Attending market, product, economy related things will not move the needle for you even a bit. You will be in the same boat next year at the same time.

I want to share one insight before I move on. Seriously think about this and digest it. Over the years people have made advances in every profession. Morgan Housel writes in his book “The Psychology of Money” that we have become better farmers, skilled plumbers, and advanced chemists. I understood this insight a long time ago and I hope you do too. Ask yourself “Have people become better investors over time with all the progress humankind has made?” NO.  We still buy High and Sell Low. We still panic when the markets fall. Have you become better advisors or distributors? I leave the answer on this one for you to answer but my answer is most are still doing the same thing. We are trying to make Better Portfolios, but we should instead be making Better Investors. This is where you need to really focus on “Making Better Investors”. If you focus your time and energy obsessing with markets, economy and products just like immature investors (however wealthy or knowledgeable they may be), you will not have created any real impact for your business or for you.

At a very broad level, this is what you must address in Marketing Strategy. Yes, Marketing Strategy. This is all about what you will not do first and then what will you do. I will sum up your Marketing Strategy with the following questions:

a. Which pond will you operate in? (This determines your competition as well). Most people cater to everyone and thus have everyone as their competition

b. Who will you serve? (Ideal Clients)

c. How are you different and 10X better (Positioning, Differentiation and Value Proposition)?

d. How will you deliver on Point c? In case, you have not guessed, a Wow Client Experience is the answer.

Your Marketing Strategy (your next best step) will help you to not only find better clients but also to make better clients. It is time you stopped obsessing over creating better portfolios and start obsessing over creating better investors.