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Advisor Spotlight
Best Sales Tool to attract prospects who said a NO
Mr B Ramanan


Mr. B Ramanan of Wealth creators, Coimbatore shares the best Sales tool any advisor may apply to attract prospects who once said a NO to come on board. An IFA who understands the segment best and considers taxation one of the biggest game changer, an all-time game changer shares his ideas.

Where corporates are target driven, his motive has been customer satisfaction. Rather than segment specification, the approach has been customer centric.

On fees, he believes people will take more time. And is skeptical about how many would actually be willing to pay for advice. "One might explain the quality of service and the advice you provide, but in the end, how many people are actually willing to pay for your “quality” advice?" says Mr. B. Ramanan.

MF Live: What is the most important thing about being an advisor?

B. Ramanan: Firstly, you need to be patient with the client. Secondly, you need to be able to convince the client that they couldn’t find anyone better. If the client thinks that you have surpassed or even met his expectations, it is a clear win. It is not so much about returns or just customer satisfaction as much as it is about educating the client and the amount of commitment you provide. That is what leads to success in this business. 

MF Live: You started your business in 2005. We all know 2008 was a bad time, regarding the market as well as the business. How did you take it?

B. Ramanan: 2008 was not the best of the times. However, it was more of an opportunity for me. Asset allocation plays a significant role, your quality speaks in turbulent times. Even when someone cancels a product, the importance of asset allocation and risk management is realized only in turbulent times. You won’t get to know about it in good times. So, in 2008, our asset allocation and the evaluation factor were quite up to the mark. Many of our customers booked with us in an earlier stage, even before the market shot down. 

That fall helped us as many of the customers came out of it happy. 

Somewhere between 2008 and 2009, we re-entered the market. After our entry, the market fell by 10-15%. We can't time the market. In that way, we came out well. We were in favour of a downward market because upward markets did not go well for us. You should work hard, and that automatically be delivered, once the market is good.
MF Live: Post Demonetisation, what has been your strategy?

B. Ramanan: Post demonetisation, we’ve been telling our clients that the market is volatile and not because of the sudden policy of demonetization but because of the US Elections. A couple of months before the demonetization policy took place; we've been predicting a massive volatility in the market scenario at least until March. We've been advising our clients to be prepared and keep doing STP until March. Whenever you get a good amount of funds, be ready to invest. This demonetization policy has, in fact, been helping us. If you stay in the market for another 5-10 years, it could actually provide excellent returns, especially when you compare it to the bank interest. It is not so much worth panicking.  

Because the volatility is exceeding the expectations of the people, we’ve been telling people to invest. We’ve also been predicting that it won’t stop here. If your time frame is 5-10 years, consider investing.

In the time post demonetisation, a lump sum was also advisable. STP is always advisable, but at this level, even lump sum is desirable. The risk part should be considered as the market may drop further. A diversified equity or a multi-cap strategy was best suited.

MF Live: Is there any experience or instance which you’d like to share where taxation has been a game changer for you?

B. Ramanan: Taxation has always been a game changer and probably will always be. From a layman investor’s point of view, fixed deposits are a way of safe investments. You have 7% returns. It is the mindset of people which is different.  If you compare debt fund and fixed deposit, the difference is the perception of people. So when you try and educate people about if 7% is taxable or not, you need to be prepared, you need to spend a lot of time with them, stress on the important points and explain to them the money they lose over tax. 

There is a lot of opportunity on the taxation part, what is tax treatment on interest income, capital gains. A lot of small scales IFAs are good businessmen but if they could differentiate between the interest income taxation and capital gain taxation that would be more beneficial.
 
IFA can read about a lot of things in depth like NRI taxations, Indian resident taxations, capital gains, opportunities in capital gains, loss of capital gain, income, etc., which is mostly needed. 

MF Live: How do you deal with instances where you have a sufficiently educated client, done all that is required to onboard him, but the prospect/ client ultimately shows his unwillingness to invest?

B. Ramanan: I would like to narrate an example. Say you are meeting a client and the client is HNI or super HNI, he may be having some crores of money or some lakhs, and he is not willing to invest even after your conversation or meeting. What do you do next? There are two choices.

1) Do nothing, and you have lost the opportunity forever.

2) Prepare a dummy portfolio, incorporating all your suggestions on that very day.  After a period of time, drop a communication to the person whose dummy portfolio you have created. 

Sample Communication: 

"Sir we met on so and so date and if you would have invested what would be your return. These were my recommendations on a particular date; please see three years are gone, and this is what your return would be."  

We have been managing many dummy portfolios even if the client has not started any investment with us and that is one of the main reasons behind the success.

This comes out of passion, and with full involvement, one will be able to do that, if you just look at it as a business you can’t, this will turn automatically as a business relationship.

We send updates every six months and clients have sometimes called me after 4-5 years regretting they have lost the time and opportunity. Clients call for meetings and what we say is forget the past and let's just carve a plan for future.

MF Live:  Message to fellow IFAs and channel partners?

B. Ramanan: The one thing, I believe is the most important is upgrading your knowledge. You need to read a lot, work a lot and do a lot of homework to do justice to the market. You need to frame your strategy instead of just talking about it.  If you have a valid justification and you are confident about it, I do not think there is anything that can go wrong with your strategy. Before hoping that your clients trust you, you must be confident enough in yourself. 

Another point is you should be proactive. Whenever this kind of market situations rises, say you have 100 customers; about 3-4 of them would be apprehensive of this sort of market movements. We need to approach them before they approach us. During the downside at markets, we need to meet as many customers as we can, giving them confidence, giving them assurance and not running away in problematic situations. 

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