Over a course of time, advisors become life planners, not mere financial planners, says Mukund Seshadri of MS Ventures Financial Planners.
After distributing financial products for many years, the urge to offer a higher order service of financial planning overtook me completely.
I got my first financial planning client by word-of-mouth. She was in charge of all the finances in her family. This family was facing the same problem which many of us face. They had bought investment products which looked ‘attractive’. Tax planning was delayed. They had taken personal loans. Their cash flows were erratic. They had many premiums which they were not able to afford.
It took almost a month to convince her of how we could help her. Once she was convinced, she called us to make a presentation to her husband and her. Our initial diagnosis and recommendations were so accurate that I heard her give a sigh of relief when we finished our presentation… we’ll never forget the look on her face.
After two days, they called us and enrolled for a financial plan. Wealth protection in any plan deals with liability management. They had loan liabilities. We settled that first and then moved to investments over a period of time.
Achievement of other financial goals came later. We are still serving this family and they have given us four references.
When you look at things from the client’s perspective, they almost become your business partners. They start promoting your business. We never intended to get a huge chunk of investments from this client. Today they have enrolled with us for a complete financial plan.
All clients become a part of your extended family. You become a life planner from a financial planner. This family involves us in every financial decision that it takes. That gives us tremendous satisfaction.
Persistence is the key to client servicing
Minesh Mehta from M2M Finance managed to get his first client on the day he started his advisory.
I am from Dadhalia, a small village in the interiors of Gujarat. I came to Mumbai in 2002 and was completely new to this city. I floated my company M2M Finance in December 2003. On the first day, I started cold-calling people. I got an appointment from the manager of Hotel Highway View, situated opposite Sanpada station in Navi Mumbai. He gave me an appointment at 10 am at his hotel. I did not know how to travel from Malad to Sanpada. I was nervous. I started from my home in Malad at 6 am to make sure I reached before time.
On reaching the hotel, the manager asked me to come at 12 noon. He was busy with some work. I spent some time at the railway station as I had no other option. I didn’t have enough money with me at that time. I came back at 12 noon and found that it was a busy hour at the hotel and the manager was still tied up with work. He requested me to come by 1.30 pm. I had no other option but to keep waiting. When I finally met him at 1.30 pm, the manager realized that he did not have a cheque book with him. So I had to wait for some more time.
The manager stayed nearby. He brought his cheque book from home at around 4 pm and handed over a cheque of Rs 20,000 in favour of ICICI Pru Power Fund (now renamed as Top 200 Fund). This was a big amount back then. I had carried the fact sheet with me which showed the returns of the scheme.
If you are persistent then you can achieve anything. I had little knowledge about mutual funds when I started my business. The client has now shifted abroad but I meet him whenever he comes to Mumbai. He is still investing through me.