As a part of my personal financial planning seminars, I come across thousands of customers who are looking for advisors. As a part of my training sessions, I come across millions of agents who are looking for customers. However, for me it is not just picking up a telephone number and passing it on.

This is because there is a huge difference between what my seminar participants say they want and what the agents I train are willing to do. Here is what a customer expects from his agent.

Please do not say you are coming do financial planning if you are only coming to sell me a financial product. I understand the words financial planning and know what a sales pitch is.I am busy. I run all day and some evenings.

When I have all the information presented to me, I tend to make fast decisions – whether it’s deciding which item to select on the restaurant menu (Rs. 300) or which car to buy in the dealer’s showroom (Rs. 12 lakhs). At the same time, I have no time to waste on mutual fund or life insurance policy (Rs. 240 lakhs over the next twenty years). . I may need to update my life insurance and pension plans. I need someone who is going to work with me and help me understand my needs and address them appropriately representing my best interests.
•    Please tell me about yourself – introduce yourself properly. I would like to know why you are in this “profession”. Are you here by choice, by force or you have just inherited an agency?
•    Tell me about the company (ies) that you represent and its reputation for reliability, service and quality of products. Has this company checked you for competence, basic education, etc. or have you been recruited as a part of its “trespassers will be recruited policy”.
•    Please do not make a sales pitch! Please suggest me appropriate products and tell me the basis on which I should choose them. Also, please tell me about products that you do not sell. I am willing to pay you a fee for suggesting products not in your portfolio. Fair enough?
•    Please get to know me. Please do not assume anything about me. Find out who I am, what I want and what concerns me. Be like my tailor, measure me every time we meet – it helps.
•    Please respect my time. In case you need 20 minutes say so. In case you need 60 minutes, say so. I get very upset if you seek appointment for an inappropriate quantum of time. I am happy to slot your appointment accordingly. I cannot keep clearing my throat and watching the clock on my table.
•    I will buy from you do not worry! I need to buy from somebody so why not you? I am comfortable buying from you, but do not start selling before you know what I need.
•    Please remember I will tell whom I want to tell – I know sales people like to boast about their latest “conquest”. When you ask me to share financial and other personal information with you, please keep it private. My wife, my brother, my colleagues, my boss, my assistant will all know from me, not from your boasting. Fair enough?
•    I need to know about financial products – I am a senior executive in a pharma company, not some stupid bumpkin. However, I am also not an expert in life insurance or retirement planning. Don’t just tell me I need more life insurance. Explain why you believe I do. Show me the steps and the logic. Remember I can think. Tell me how the particular product will benefit my family and me. Finally, tell me why you believe that a particular policy or strategy you recommend is the best choice for my situation.
•    Please don’t tell me what I can afford. That’s my call. Tell me the cost of having it and the implication of not having it. I can understand that if I am uninsured and I die my wife will be on the streets. Similarly, when you are asking me to sign up to a pension plan tell me what is the implication of a smaller monthly payment. I will tell you whether something you recommend is affordable.
•    Help me with the documentation and later – my car sales representative is absconding after I got delivery of my car. I am now chasing a telephone number for the registration book. When I buy a financial product, I surely need some handholding. I have been insured for the past 18 years and have invested in a mutual fund for the past 10 years. I have not been able to understand life insurance language.
•    I hope you will be in this profession – I have no time in my life to be chasing you. In addition, I do want to know whether you will be in this profession for at least 10 years. I have not changed my family doctor for the past 44 years – I hope to create such a relationship with you also.
•    Please feel free to admit your mistakes – I do not want my friend’s wife to review my portfolio and tell me I have been sold a lemon. Believe me you will make lemonade for me. If I find out, I have been sold a lemon, I will scream, and scream loud for all the regulators to hear. I will be hurt, but you will be finished. I have made many mistakes but I accept it and tell my boss before he finds out. Keep this going. It helps.

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  1. have you been recruited as a part of its “trespassers will be recruited policy”. ROFL…subra at best 🙂

  2. i have actually seen this happen. somebody who came to buy a policy was asked to become an agent. another person who came in for shelter from rain was also……lol

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