imgbd Gamechangers: Dealing with direct

Win the battle against direct, by selling yourself correctly

Ashish and Manish Goel, Vista Wealth, Delhi

2nd November 2015

In a nutshell

In the second article of the Gamechangers column, Ashish and Manish suggest that one of the biggest reasons why clients consider direct plans is because distributors have not correctly sold themselves to their clients.

They provide a very useful checklist of 13 broad services that any good client centric distributor/advisor offers clients, which go way beyond simply executing a mutual fund transaction. If you do take the effort of helping your clients understand the breadth of your services, you are likely to find far fewer of them gravitate towards direct plans.

Its time to go beyond selling products and solutions - its time to also sell yourself correctly.


In this column on dealing with the challenge of direct plans, our endeavour is to share with you our thoughts on dealing with direct at three levels:

  1. Technology

  2. Selling yourself correctly

  3. Client stories

Dealing with direct : selling yourself correctly

At Vista Wealth, we have a firm belief that it is the quality of customer engagement that drives business, more than anything else. When we spend quality time with new clients ensuring that they become familiar and confident about products and solutions that we talk about, it does two things: it encourages them to increase their allocations to us and it drives referrals to us. Trust and knowledge continue to be the foundation of our client engagement model (Vista's TACT matrix).

While we continue these efforts on educating clients on products and solutions, there is one more area of awareness building that we have started doing, in a subtle manner, which is helping us significantly in our ability to deal with direct plans. We are making a conscious effort to help clients understand the variety of tasks we perform for them. We are in effect, selling ourselves more effectively.

We found that very often, clients get induced to consider direct plans because they only look at one dimension - that direct plans are priced lower than regular plans. As distributors, our failure often is that we don't do a good enough job of helping them understand the breadth of services that we offer, beyond just transaction execution. Here is the list of tasks we perform as client centric distributors:


We keep trying to weave these points into conversations whenever opportunities present themselves, so that clients understand fully the extent of services they get from us. If you were to make such a list and you are actually doing all of these tasks, your clients will also be able to make out clearly how many of these they will get if they choose to go direct. The value of your proposition will stand out clearly - because you made an effort to sell yourself correctly.

We have found that with clients where we weaved in these messages into our normal conversations, there was really nobody who even talked to us about direct plans. The flip side is that clients who did come and talk to us about direct plans and did loud thinking whether they should or should not opt for them, were invariably those with whom we missed driving these communications.

It might be very useful for each one of us to make a one page summary of the tasks that we perform for our clients, and add this in our brochures and routine communications. We need to make an effort to sell ourselves correctly, if we have to deal effectively with the challenge of direct plans.

I would request all distributors who read this piece to add to this list any tasks that you perform, which has got missed out here. Share these thoughts for our common benefit. Lets make as exhaustive a list as possible of everything that we do for our clients. Lets then present this long list to all existing and prospective clients.

Maybe, we distributors have not been very good in the past at selling ourselves and our services effectively. We may have focussed a lot more on selling appropriate solutions to our clients, but didn't focus enough on selling ourselves.

Let's change the game! Lets showcase our true worth to clients and help them understand why staying with us is indeed in their best interest.

Editorial comment

Wealth Forum has always supported and stood by financial intermediaries - whether you call yourself advisors, distributors or wealth managers. We strongly believe in the value of good advice and are committed to helping you scale higher and serve your clients better. In keeping with this philosophy, we are very happy to introduce a new column in our website, called Gamechangers.


We will endeavour to make Gamechangers an indispensable resource of gamechanging ideas and insights that can help you deal with key business challenges. The foremost business challenge that you face today is dealing with direct plans. Gamechangers will accordingly focus on this issue, and will provide you a platform to share ideas and insights on how to take on and win against direct plans.

Ashish and Manish Goel, who are among the foremost thought and business leaders in the retail distribution space in India, kickstart this initiative with their thoughts at three levels on dealing with direct. We are grateful to Ashish and Manish for conceptualizing and pioneering this initiative. Wealth Forum will reach out to many more leaders in the distribution space to contribute their gamechanging ideas, insights and experiences in the Gamechangers column.

But its not just the leaders of the distribution fraternity who have all the best ideas. Each one of you has dealt with this issue, and many of you will have valuable insights and experiences to share. Please write in to us at and we will ensure that the best ideas are appropriately showcased, here in the Gamechangers column. The more you share, the better equipped each one of you are to deal with and overcome the challenge of direct plans!

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