Thursday, March 20, 2008


I met a prospect during a cold calling session few months back. I had contacted him several times and he finally agreed to meet me for a policy and investment review.
We arranged to meet at a coffee joint in a shopping centre and I informed him to bring along his policy, investment and CPF statement.

I got myself fully equipped with my self-introduction file, Fact Finding Forms, presentation kits, white papers, Internet access, etc. All ready for a proper and professional meeting.

He arrived 15 minutes late empty handed. Our conversation started as follows:

Adrian: Hi Mr XXX, thanks for taking your time......(Trying to break the ice and know him better)
Prospect: (Sitting backward) OK. Tell me what you have!

Adrian: Before we start the discussion, can I first get you a coffee?
Prospect: Don't need. Just tell me what you have!

Adrian: Before showing what we have, why not allow me to do some planning for you to show you what is suitable? (taking out my Fact Finding Form)
Prospect: Oh no. (Looks disturbed by the papers) Just tell me what you have!

Adrian: (keeping back the form after seeing him irritated) Maybe you can tell me what you want.
Prospect: I don't know what I want. I'm here to see what you have!

Adrian: When people meet us, they go for Protection, Savings or Investment. What are you looking for?
Prospect: Ok. Tell me about Savings and Investment

Adrian: Savings or Investment. Are you looking for Lumpsum or Regular?
Prospect: Anything. Just tell me what you have!
(I look at him. His BMI is probably 35 and above; I'm not going to recommend any insurance related stuffs. Decided to show him about investment.)

Adrian: Let me show you the 2 ways to invest. Lumpsum or Dollar-cost Averaging.....
Prospect: I not interested in all these concepts. Just tell me what investment can give me the most money?

(I only bring a few leaflet of our diversified investment funds that day and start showing him that few leaflet)
Prospect: Anything else you have other than this?

(Fumbled a bit, totally unexpected behaviour from this prospect.Try to log into my Wireless SG to show him some higher risk investment funds)

Adrian: Please give me a few minutes as I log into the internet.
Prospect: Sorry. I have no time and I thought I can hear what you have. I got to go. I will call you if I am interested to meet you again.

(The meeting ends within 10 minutes)


How I feel after the meeting?

* Felt lucky never get him the coffee. Nearly wasted my money.
* Travelled to the other end of Singapore. Felt lousy as if my time and effort are so cheap
* I am not a sweet-talker. I am not able to build up any rapport and take control of the meeting
* Learnt a few things.
a) I have everything about why we should invest, but I don't have things on what we can invest on hand.
b) Don't presume that clients will treat us like a professional. We must be ready to turn into a salesman when needed.
c) The propect is more domineering than me. He had controlled me in that 10 minutes. I failed to show him that I'm the specialist. You listen to me!

Can anyone else give me pointers on what I can learn from this meeting?


Anonymous said...

The problem is you were too desperate to meet him. You didn't tell him what you expected of him over the phone other than bringing his documents.
In the first place if he wasn't interested to know about you could do for him the appointment shouldn't have been fixed. In his mind all insurance agents are salesmen and he met you because he though you had some new stuffs to show him that can make a lot of money.
Second point is if you saw his body language was hostile you shouldn't have gone on. Ask him if he had a bad day and if there was ,tell him it was no use to go on.He won't listen. His mind was somewhere else. He was trying to end quickly.
Maybe propose another day or just throw him away. After all he wasn't going to be your client even you were nice to him.Dismiss him and tell him if he was ready call you and not you call him.
Insurance agents have no self respect, most of them. They behave like dogs and bitches or beggars all this time. The public think they are and should be treated like that, to be pushed around. They are not "professionals". They behave like they need the cleints and without the cleints they are dead. Yes , business requires clients but you don't have to behave so despicably and like dogs waiting for crumps on the ground.
Today, customers still think insurance agents are at their mercy. They need the customers and not the other way because agents are salesmen.


Anonymous said...

hey adrian, don't be disheartened. My advice is for you to always arm yourself with some great products that you would sell if you meet people who are only interested in products. If you sell them a good product, you get a better chance to be their financial adviser. Of course you take the risk that they only want to get free financial advice and not buy anything. If you are good at "sizing people up", you will know within 10 mins of talking to the person. All the best! - peter

Wendy said...

Hi, fellow practitioner now. Came across yr blog from Derek's site ( Just want to say that yes, this person is frustrating and judging from his response, quite impossible to 'educate'. He sounds like he don't know what he is doing. Anyway to cut it short, its better not to close people like that coz' they will be the ones to give you problems later. As we always say, choose your client. Have a good day!

Helmi Hakim said...

If he insisted on savings/investment, I will talk this way. (with the KYC form with me)

"Mr Prospect,in order for me to do proper recommendations, I will need to ask you a few simple questions to determine your objectives of savings or investing your money.

If you dont have an objective, it will be very difficult for you to save.

Okay? ".

Then I will guide him and proceed with the first question in the KYC at the investment profile section, asking him to CHOOSE 1 option out of the 5 choices.

From there, the picture will get clearer of what is his real objective and requirements.

Then, I will proceed as usual.

PanzerGrenadier said...

Hi Adrian

Don't beat yourself up too much over it. You cannot win 100% of the time. :-)

If you had just pushed products to him without doing the fact finding, I think you would have violated not only ethics but also the MAS regulations relating to licenced IFA or FAs.

There will be people like that. In fact, I work with people who are like that in some ways... ;-)

Just take it as a learning experience and move on.

BTW, are you a toastmaster? I find that toastmasters training helps a lot in sizing people up and handling unexpected speaking situations.

Be well and prosper.

PanzerGrenadier said...


A bit harsh to lump all insurance professionals as "behave like dogs and bitches or beggars all this time"...

Everyone has a role to play in our economy.

If you don't like insurance professionals then just say so. Throwing epithets and insults does not make for enlighted comment.

Khiat Han Hwee Adrian said...

Haha. Met hundreds of people and this one really surprised me.

First Surprise:
I get to know that he is from Middle East and PR in Singapore over several years. Not the usual type of Singaporean client that I used to meet.

Second Surprise:
He has a very huge statue. At least double of my size.

Third Surprise:
He is not as friendly as I expected. This is probably their culture or that he did not expect to see a young, boyish looking chap meeting him in the first place.

Actually, he might be a big fish which I did not managed to grab. A more dominant adviser should be able make the meeting a success.

This is indeed a good learning experience.

Khiat Han Hwee Adrian said...

Hi Terminator,

Nice to see your comments again. I like your comments because they made good sense but hope you can use kinder words on us next time.

Sometimes I don't know why you hate Insurance Professionals so much. Maybe you can drop me an email at and you can share your bad experience.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Adrain, you should have brought this Helmi guy along. He made it so easy and his parroty line a surefire approach.
No apology...i don't mince my words.I want to terminate those misconceptions that insurance agents are promoting like lies about products, the snake oil benefits and so forth. They are good at that.
But you are different. You are too straight. You are too gentle in the face of hostility. You do not know how to "snake" your way around unlike the typical insurance agents.
There are good advisers but unfortunately the majority are below par, unqualified and worse, dishonest.


wilfredling said...

Hi Adrian,

Just drop this client and move on. He is not worth your time and effort. He will be a source of trouble and pain in the future if you do sell him anything.

Anonymous said...

Hi Friend, some customers/prospects are difficult. that's life.

Dont lose confidence in yourself.
you are very knowledgeable maybe just be a bit more aggressive..but actually one has to sacrifice one's conscience to be aggressive if you know what I am saying....:(
And you are ..rare.. honest....

When free call me for coffee..:)


Khiat Han Hwee Adrian said...

Thanks everyone for your pointers. They are very relevant points which I shall use to improve myself.

I had tried to publish as many comments as possible but there are still many comments which I did not publish. They are too abusive in content.

They like to scold NTUC advisers. I suspect they could be ex-advisers in NTUC Income themselves who did not make the mark and left. I find them quite sickening. I suggest that this group of people need not waste their time writing these comments which I will not publish.

Anonymous said...

Adrain, you terminated my comments because you are not happy that I bashed ntuc agents.I never said all ntuc agents need bashing. Example , like you, you are different. You have conscience. You follow a prodeedure.You make sure your clients get the best. But the rest of ntuc agents they deserve to be thrown into the trash and be incinerated.They are garbages and they have to be trampled like dirt for what they are doing.
Sorry, Adrain, I am not an ex-NTUC agent. It is an insult.Please don't associate me with NTUC. I am getting goose pimples now. I am the terminator sent to destroy all rogue agents and to free society of these scumbags.

Khiat Han Hwee Adrian said...

Hi Teminator,

you are not the only one who frequently go beyond the line. There are several other comments which I rejected.

I do appreciate your comments in my blog but I sincerely hope that you can be fair and not post personal attack on others and specific company.

If you noticed that some of your posting are not put up, you will know what I mean.

If you have any unhappiness that you like to share, you can drop me an email. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Thanks , Adrain, for publishing my comments. It's really gentleman of you. Despite my severe bashing of ntuc agents yet you gave me some space in your blog. Unlike your colleagues' blogs, they are like fortress, great wall of China, or some high security prison that are impregnable. They are not like you , real open, take into your strides every type of comments.
These blog owners have very bad English.If they can't write good English I advise them to write in Malay or chinese. Their views are flawed and rubbish. They are obviously intended to decieve visitors. Lucky, the visitors are not idiot. Anyway some fell into their traps.
Poor them. This what you call ,curiosity kills a visitor.