Sell Well - Grow Well : "Main Bhi Fund Guru"
My sales strategy rests on 3 pillars
Pradeep Kumar Jain, Ranchi


Sell Well - Grow Well, a joint initiative between SBI Fund Guru and Wealth Forum, is an effort aimed at encouraging and guiding distributors on a path towards right selling - which we firmly believe is the best way to grow well on a sustainable basis.


In the new series within this section, called "Main Bhi Fund Guru", successful advisors share their winning sales strategies for the benefit of the wider distribution fraternity. In this article, which is part one of a two part write-up, Pradeepji - one of Eastern India's most successful advisors - shares the three pillars which are at the core of his sales strategies, and which have helped him grow his business successfully over the years. In the next part, Pradeepji shares his top 10 tips - his distilled learnings over the years - for IFAs who wish to become champion salesmen.

All my sales strategies revolve around 3 pillars :

    - Need

    - Greed

    - Problem solving


Whenever I start talking to a client, my mind is always focused on identifying the need which I must tap for converting the conversation into a sale. Unless you identify the need quickly, you will be shooting around aimlessly. If you get to the need of the client, both become sharply focused on the conversation. I make it a point to always refer back to the need right through the conversation, which helps in keeping the conversation where it should be rather than on other things like minute details and features of particular products. If you find yourself talking too much about a product and less about the need of the client, you must immediately do a course correction, as you are most likely headed in the wrong direction.


Once the need has been clearly identified and a solution has been proposed by you for that need, the buying decision almost always comes only when you activate the "greed" aspect. If you don't get your clients excited about your solution, they will not take a decision and you will be going back and forth aimlessly. I make it a point to show my clients the long term track records of some of the funds that I have been recommending for 10-15 years. I showcase how clients invested Rs. 1 lakh 10 years ago in a fund and how they have multiplied their money many times over in the last 10 years. I showcase how a humble SIP of 5000 rupees can make you a crorepati over the years. The point is that you must get clients to think "I too can become rich", if you want them to take a risk with any capital market product and invest in an equity fund. It is only when the "greed" emotion comes into play, that investors make their buying decision. Just as it is our job to always do the right thing for the investor and therefore keep them away from bad products, it is equally our job to find a way to help them take the right decision of investing for the long term in an equity fund, by activating "greed" which will overcome the "fear" of investing in equity.

Problem solving

This is what I consider the most important pillar of my strategies. We get business when we offer solutions to problems of our clients. It is our job to look at what the client's problems are, and create solutions that address them. If today the biggest concern for a client is to find a way to save tax, you will have a willing listener in the client if you are offering a solution to that problem. At that stage, if you are giving some product sales pitch which is not connected with his main problem, you are not going to get very far. If tax saving is the biggest problem for some clients, maintaining a regular cash flow may be the biggest problem for others. You must tailor your solutions to address those specific problems. Generic product pitches are not going to help. You must have an understanding of what is the key problem and identify the right solution that addresses the problem. Sales will automatically follow if you keep this focus.

Portfolio maintenance service

In keeping with this approach towards problem solving, we offer a free annual service to all our clients called annual portfolio maintenance, which deals with a generic problem that most investors face. Each year, one specialist staff member from my team visits clients and takes a detailed look at all the "housekeeping" aspects of their portfolio as well as their complete financial affairs. Do all folios in all AMCs have nominations in place? If not, should we get a nominee included? Are all the bank mandates properly recorded? Have any of the bank details changed, to warrant a change of bank mandate process now rather than facing hardships at the time of redemption? Is there any minor in the family who has become a major this year? If yes, what changes in the investments must be made to record this? What changes in bank accounts and their operations must be made now for the child who has become a major? If one of the children got married during the year, what changes must be made in investments and bank accounts of that child to get the records in order? Are all bank lockers held in joint names? If not, should a correction be made for safety purpose?

This kind of a comprehensive maintenance service is done annually not just for investments done through us, but for the entire financial affairs of the investor. This is always a problem area for every investor, and when we offer this kind of an annual service, it is a source of much delight among clients, as it solves a big problem that they find very tedious to do themselves. Apart from generating considerable goodwill for us, it is great for business too. It enhances the confidence of the client in us as a trust-worthy and diligent advisor. It pushes them to consolidate their portfolios with us rather than have multiple advisors. And, it gives us a 360 degree view of their entire finances, which also puts us in a far better position to advice them holistically.

New service

Taking the same problem solving approach one step further, we are now starting a new service for our clients. In the last few years, we noticed that many CAs are getting fed up with mutual funds and are dissuading clients from MF investing. With mutual fund investments getting into the AIRs of investors, there is a lot of additional paper work for CAs. With so many scrutiny cases coming up for MF investments above Rs. 2 lakh, there is additional work for CAs.

We are now recruiting a specialist in our office, who has completed his CA articleship and is therefore well versed with documentation requirements, who will be our point of contact with all the CAs of all our clients. He will put together proactively all the paper work required for return filing and will liaise with respective CAs even before they ask clients for this information. When you solve the problem of the CAs, you will not have them unnecessarily dissuading clients from mutual funds only because of the onerous paperwork. Rather, I anticipate, that this may also turn out to be a business builder for us, as CAs will be happy to recommend us to their other clients, because they know that if their client wants to invest in mutual funds, their clients will get the same service from us - which helps the investor as well as the CA.

CSR initiative

This problem solving approach is also the thought behind our corporate social responsibility initiative - which is not meant for business building, but is a pure CSR effort. We have set up an investor helpline. Any investor, whether a client of ours or not, can call this helpline for any issue he has on any financial product, and we do our best to resolve the issue and offer service at his doorstep. There is no cost for availing this service. There is no obligation to do business with us. We don't try to poach business using this service. It is a pure goodwill gesture, our way of giving back to the community in the way we best can.

All articles in the Sell Well - Grow Well section are created by Wealth Forum. These are not to be construed as opinions given by SBI Mutual Fund.

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