In almost all the training sessions – whether it is a relationship managers training or a independent financial analyst’s training, one complaint comes through very loudly. It goes like this:

“I have a client who invests 5 a month in a mutual fund regularly. However I am under tremendous pressure to sell him a unit linked plan with a premium of at least 60 NOW. How do I handle this?” – if you are a unit manager, financial consultant, financial adviser, business development manager, sales manager, – generally anybody interested in life insurance sales you can indentify with this question. I have said 5 – you can add ‘000s as per your convenience!

My answer is simple: In this market if you have a client who is giving you a regular business on a monthly basis – surely he believes in (and has perhaps benefitted by) SIP as a process. You should be happy for him, for your organisation, and thank him. You should seek his blessings for your career and some leads for further business.

The participants are not happy – they grumble – and say (almost audibly) trainers do not have to sell, so it is all right for ‘you’ to say this. The more sensitive guys (and gals too) say “We know this, but our superiors force us to do this….”

I am normally amused – the fact that I can afford to be in training comes from my sales background!

It reminds me of a story – the Monkey and the crocodile.

On the banks of a river there is nice huge tree – with lovely mangoes and a lot of monkeys. In the river is a big crocodile – who befriends one of the monkeys. The monkey gives the crocodile one mango a day. The crocodile shares this mango with its wife and is very happy.

One day however Mrs. crocodile tells Mr. Crocodile “if the monkey eats this fruit every day, his stomach and liver must be really sweet, let us eat him”. Mr. Crocodile protests – and says the monkey is my friend – how can you even say this? However under tremendous pressure Mr. Crocodile relents and decides to get Mr. Monkey to the Croc house.

Initially the monkey is also sceptical – and gives the normal excuses. “I cant swim”, “We are natural enemies, are we not” …but Mr. Croc who has been trained in “How to make a No to a Yes” and “Persuasion skills” and other ‘communication skills’ convinces Mr. Monkey to sit on Mr. Crocs back and is planning to take Mr. Monkey to his house.

On the way Mr. Croc (perhaps over ridden by guilt) tells Mr. Monkey – the real purpose of the visit. Mr. Monkey (usually true) who is much smarter than Mr. Croc says “I have not brought my kidney and stomach – I left it on the tree” (people say cheque book, Pan card, photograph…) – so the croc brings him back to the tree – to collect the stomach and liver. Mr. Monkey goes up the tree and thumbs his nose at Mr. Croc.

In real life however many monkeys end up in Croc stomachs.

Please remember even though we live in a democracy real incidents can only be written as stories. Like Shankar Sharma found out – we live in a political democracy and in an economic dictatorship. Like they say when in the water, you do not cross swords with a croc!

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  1. Now that you mention Shankar Sharma, I remember an old ED officer telling me how SS was treated by ED and that he boasted he would erect a bigger business in 6 months once a favorable Govt comes.
    He also told me how Malya used to come and give 200-300-500 Rs to EVERY(almost) staff of ED whenever he visited the office. That was in his pre KFA days.

    And of course, we were talking about ethics….in a country of dishonest.

  2. I think ULIP is more of a financial alchemy. You dont get the complete benefits of insurance, you dont get the complete benefits of a mutual fund and rest assured, you pay heavy commissions in the name of these two.

    Recently, an agent tried very hard to sell me a ULIP product. I have written my encounter with her in this blog post (

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