After getting his bachelor’s degree in commerce, Rajesh Sodhani started working as sub-broker. Although he wanted to qualify as a CA, Sodhani dropped the plans as he was making good money as a broker.
But life had a different plan for him. In 2001, he moved to Rajasthan with his family and got introduced to the world of insurance with the help of a relative. He started working as a consultant for HDFC life insurance. Sharing the early phase of his journey, Sodhani said, “I was new to the city and did not know many people. I used to travel 150 km to meet prospects. In the first month of my business itself, I sold close to 50 policies. However, an official from the insurance company told me that I cannot continue such a performance over the long term. I accepted the challenge and focused on increasing my client base.”
The hard work paid off. During his stint at HDFC Life, Sodhani added many feathers to his hat. He qualified for Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) 10 times, Court of Table (COT) and Top of Table (TOT). “These recognitions are given to agents who achieve a certain sales target,” Sodhani explained.
It was in 2006 when he got his ARN but his focus was on insurance only. “By then, I had made a brand of Sodhani Investments, a well known firm in the insurance distribution business. I achieved all sales target and travelled to 35 countries. Hence I did not feel the need to switch to mutual funds,” Sodhani recalls.
The shift happened when he attended a training session of an AMC to understand why mutual funds have an edge over insurance. “I have been selling insurance as an investment product throughout my distribution career. However, I realised that my clients can achieve their financial goals by investing in mutual funds for the long term. Mutual funds are low cost and transparent. Also, mutual funds can outperform other assets class such as insurance and real estate over the long term,” he says.
Rajesh turned his focus to mutual funds in 2014. To start with, he approached his existing clients to invest in mutual funds. “I converted all my clients, getting them to invest in mutual funds by explaining the benefits. I made them identify their financial goals and helped them achieve these,” Sodhani says.
In FY2015-16, Rajesh attended industry events including Cafemutual IFA Event and Confluence where industry experts talked about how IFAs can grow business by holding IAPs. Rajesh was managing Rs.15 crore at the time. Inspired by takeaways, Rajesh started holding IAPs only a few years ago. Currently, he conducts at least four IAPs a month. He also conducts an yearly IAP event titled Niveshak Darbaar with a view to create a platform for investors where they can interact with industry experts and understand the nitty-gritty of investing in mutual funds. Sodhani told Cafemutual that the recent Niveshak Darbaar saw participation of over 900 investors.
Sodhani promotes this event by running promos on FM radio channels and newspapers to create a buzz. He has created a Facebook page on Niveshak Darbaar to attract young investors. He also follows up with existing clients and prospects through emails and phone calls. “This event is almost like my daughter’s wedding,” he says. At least, 70% of his clients have come through such events.
Besides IAPs, Rajesh meets with prospects. He ensures that he meets at least four new persons a day. “I set a daily target to acquire at least one new client a day. For this, I meet at least 4 new prospects everyday through referrals. I explain to them the significance of mutual fund investments through historical performance and goal planning,” Rajesh says.
Currently, he has a team size of 19. Recently, he hired a relationship manager whose work solely is to keep in constant touch with existing clients and inquire if they are facing any problems.
Considering himself competitive and a strong believer of ‘Top or nothing’, Rajesh Sodhani, has a client base of 4,500, mostly retail. He manages assets under advisory of Rs.125 crore.
Speaking about his future plans, he says, “In 2020, I want to reach an AUM of Rs.500 crore.” Also, in two years, he is planning to open his new office under the name, Rajesh Sodani Financial Tower.
Rajesh Sodhani is a perfect example of how implementing proven ideas can help IFAs make a mark in the financial distribution industry.