imgbd Fund Guru: Sell Well - Grow Well

The story of Bharat Mehta's Mission Wall

In the book, "Selling with noble purpose - How to drive revenue and do work that makes you proud", author Lisa Earle McLeod encourages salespeople to find a purpose in their profession where the profit is a result and not the actual goal. Her research found that salespeople who sell with a purpose are better performers compared to their peers, while at the same time serving their clients better than peers. We take you through the story of a hypothetical IFA called Bharat Mehta to give you an insight into how powerful this idea can be - for you and your clients.

There are two key points one needs to keep in mind about selling with a purpose, before we look at a practical example of how you can use these insights in your practice.

1. A mission that drives your firm's behaviour

Selling with a purpose does not mean that profit is ignored. It simply means that profit is a natural result of your passion and purpose. So in order to find your purpose behind your sales pitch, ask yourself what is the big picture. Do you have a motto for your business? If you do not, what is the first thought that comes into your mind when asked to describe your business? Does your motto reflect a client-centric focus? Does the motto define how you add value to the life of your clients? Do you believe that your service is needed and does your motto reflect that? Look at the keywords in your motto. Are these action words that indicate how you better the lives of your clients? If it does not, then it may be time to re-tune your motto to reflect how your role as a financial advisor is essential for your client. When that kind of client-centric energy and zest is added to your motto, then automatically, that focus will flow through your services.

2. Value of sincerity

Research shows that salespeople with a purpose are much more assertive because they truly believe in the service they are offering. They genuinely believe that the products and services they offer better the lives of their clients and this helps them achieve stronger sales performance compared to those without a purpose. Sincerity and genuineness also makes them much more trustworthy from a client's perspective. And with trustworthiness comes a lot higher ability to sell, as we all know.

An example: Bharat Mehta's story

Most advisors have adopted a goal based approach to selling funds and other investment products. Bharat Mehta (hypothetical IFA) however is different - he hasn't just adopted a goal based approach as a sales process to get better sales numbers. He passionately believes that his role is to help families realize their dreams and aspirations. Goal based selling of SIPs is just a way in which he works towards achieving his mission.

He has set himself one big career target: to help realize 1000 goals. His sole focus is making plans for each goal of each client family, putting them onto a path towards achieving the goal, and tracking each goal with each client family twice a year. He entertains no other conversations on markets, on tactical asset allocation - on anything that can distract him and his clients from the only goal - which is achievement of their goals.

For every goal that is created for clients, he has a tracker that updates accumulation and eventual drawdown. For every goal that is successfully provided for and drawn down at maturity, he updates the goal tracking sheet, takes a print out, puts a smiley sticker on the print out which says "Mission Accomplished", signs below the smiley and asks his client to counter-sign there. Often, clients don't just sign, they write lovely testimonials on these goal sheets, thanking Bharat for successfully navigating them in their journey.

Bharat laminates each of these "Mission Accomplished" goal sheets, and displays them proudly in his office. He has a single electronic counter in the middle of this "Mission Wall" which updates the number of goals successfully accomplished. Every child whose education was successfully provided for, every family whose retirement plan was successfully provided for - all of these are captured on his "Mission Wall". When he comes into office every day, he looks at the "Mission Wall" - today, the counter says 363. Long way to go to reach 1000, but he has a deep sense of satisfaction that he has helped achieve 363 dreams and aspirations of his client families, in his journey so far as a financial advisor.

When any prospect comes to his office and sees his Mission Wall, there is really no further need for any probing about why he should choose Bharat as his advisor. There is no conversation around commission passbacks. Clients see value all over the Mission Wall. When his client signs a "Mission Accomplished" smiley, and Bharat asks him for a reference, no client has so far turned Bharat down. His clients simply tell their friends to go and meet Bharat once at his office, and see for themselves what Bharat is all about.

Do you think this is possible?

Does the hypothetical story of Bharat Mehta seem outlandish? Or is there something here for you to think about? Many advisors believe strongly in a goal based planning approach - transcend from belief to passion. Wear this passion on your sleeve. Walk, talk, live, breathe this passion. And you will see, when you do business with a higher purpose in mind, business will flow a lot more freely to you. You are no longer selling or advising - you are living your mission every day of your career.

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