I have a friend who has worked in a bank for many years – from a rookie sales person to almost the top job in sales and marketing. She has (to me surprisingly) acquired a lot of knowledge about banking, mutual fund and life insurance. Not knowing much of her background (she now works for a market research agency) one bank approached her to buy life insurance. She seems to have been in a wicked mood and said yes. What happened after that is today’s story.

She said she wanted to buy a big policy – even by that bank standards – Rs. 35 lakhs regular premium was big. So the whole bank was guung ho. First the relationship manager said some nice things but could not explain the product. So the relationship manager, product manager, inusurance company’s manager, and the regional head of the life insurance company went on a joint call. She heard them out patiently and said, “Are you guys convinced that I need life insurance?” They chorused Yes. She had told them that her daughter had completed her education and her husband was earning more in a year than they could spend in a decade. They still said yes.

She countered saying – “If I need life insurance, do you guys not need life insurance?”. They chorused yes, of course, we also need life insurance. She then asked them “If you are all selling this product, is this the best?” They chorused yes.

She now made an offer. She said, tomorrow please get me YOUR POLICY copies, and I will pay a premium EQUAL to the premium of all 4 of you, or Rs. 35 lakhs, whichever is higher”

She felt it was a fair offer. They saw red. Only the representative of the life insurance company had a life insurance plan AT ALL and it was from a different company. On probing she found he had taken it in his PREVIOUS company – TO SAVE HIS JOB – under immense pressure from his boss. The quarter after that he was removed for not achieving his target!

It is not always possible for sales people to have all the products that they deal with. However, if you are a Maruti car dealer and move around in an Indica, to me, Indica is a better car BY YOUR BEHAVIOUR, not by your words. Similarly some agents (or relationship managers) may have a different profile, may be old enough not to need life insurance, may be too poor to own an unit linked plan, …’000s of reasons could be found. However, as this example proves, cusotmers like to eat in a hotel which has the guts to say “the owner eats here” .

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  1. It is essential to be aware of what we really need. Just because someone pushes a product, we should not buy it. Before making any decision we need to ask so many questions to confirm if we need that product else we will end up having a bunch we could not hold.

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