This is the MOST IMPORTANT Skill that you should invest your Time and Energy Mastering!

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 recently met (at our 2-day Bootcamp) an IFA, who has been in this industry for 20 years, built a Rs.150 Crore Assets Under Management (AUM) but seemed very frustrated with the state of the industry.

He said that this seems to be the Worst Time to be in this industry with so many changes in regulations, revenue, technology and others. Everyone that I meet is unhappy. I think it is best to leave the profession and do something else. I told him that “This is the best time or the worst time to be in this industry. Either way you are right.” I challenged him that he will change his opinion about the opportunities in this business after 2 days because so far he has been focusing on building the wrong set of skills Financial Pornography and Financial Astrology. It was time to build the right ones.

He then asked me What is the 1 Skill that you think I should focus on in 2020 and beyond?

I told him that if there is just one Skill that you need to build it is The Ability to Have Meaningful Conversations with your Prospect/Client.” Conversational Skills are so important that if you manage to master this, Success will be your Slave…Wait …You Need Warren Buffet to convince you about this…

Let me share some words published in a recent Harvard Business Review Column by communications expert Carmine Gallo “Persuasion is so important to billionaire Warren Buffett that the only diploma he proudly displays in his office is a public-speaking certificate from a Dale Carnegie course. He once told business students that improving their communication skills would boost their professional value by 50% — instantly.”

Now think about what you hang in your office as a Badge of Honour “Highest Equity Sales or Highest Sales in this region or MDRT/COT and so on.” How many of you have really focused on investing in a conversational skills course (the way you have a conversation – I am not talking about public speaking here). I am also not talking about the free sessions that AMCs conduct on Markets /Technical Stuff or the conferences that you go to and listen to 50 speakers.

I have also heard some people referring to this as soft skills and then immediately dismissing it or not giving it too much importance or priority as part of their learning journey. The point is that this is so important that this is the first skill that you and your team members should learn in this business.

This is something that you encounter on a Daily Basis and the consequences of not focusing on this or mastering it are the following:

1. The Prospect does not sign up with you.

I recently had a Rs.1000 Crore IFA tell me that I went to pitch to a prospect who was with a Big Bank. We did not get him because I did not know what was different beyond a point. First is that you never pitch to a prospect, but you deliver an outstanding client experience, the way you make him feel with the quality of your conversations. Think about this gentleman who has been in the business for 30+ years and yet finds it challenging to have a real conversation.

2.The Prospect signs up as a client but gives you only a small percentage of his business.

This is the case with almost 95% + IFAs as the client just ends up buying a product from you or rather doing a transaction with you. Thus you end up doing a disservice to the client and yourself. 

Like I have mentioned earlier, Most IFAs can double within 18 months without adding a single new Client. Similarly, our entire industry can double in size without adding a Single Investor (You don’t need Big 4 to tell you Add more Investors and Distributors to grow the industry). The key is that most IFAs do not have 100% of their client’s assets and thus focusing on becoming solid conversationalists will help IFAs scale up rapidly.

Yes, it takes time to build this skill and it is difficult. It is not something that you will master in a day or 2 but you need to make improving your conversational skill a priority and commitment. 

So how should you start?

1.Read Books on Communication and Persuasion.

I am happy to recommend a few for those seriously interested in this.

2.Start Writing as if you are talking to people.

You meet up with people every day and have so many interesting stories to tell, just start writing even if it means that it takes you 2 hours. Many IFAs who attended our bootcamp have started to write and the first time it took them several hours – some as high as 6-8 hours. However, the next one took far lesser and people who have committed to the process now can do it in 1 hour. You are not writing for anyone. You are writing for yourself. This will improve not only the way you write but the way you think & speak as well.

3. Attend our Conversational Skills Workshop

Yes, I am proudly announcing this (Some of you might think of this as Sales…I would call it being a persuasive educator).  We have worked very hard on this and built this so that you can save a lot of your time, energy, money and directly get to the crux of what’s really important for you.

Your ability to persuade and Win your prospects Share of Heart (SOH) will give you a competitive edge over the next decade and beyond. So “Just Invest your Time and Money in building this 1 Skill.”