Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Busy = Good Business?

My mother asked me today, "What business are you doing? Why need to work till midnight so often? You business so good meh?"
A friend also asked me over the phone today, "Wah. Saw your blog recently that you are taking the last train home everyday. Your business must be real good! right?"

Is my business really that good? Busy = Good business? Busy? Yes, I'm very busy. Good business? I can say "Not really". Contradicting? Let me tell you why.

As an FA, we attended lots of training. There are new product launches, fund managers investment updates, providers briefings, Company's trainings, Branch meetings, sub-group sharings, conducting trainings for new advisers, etc. There are sure to have something almost everyday and it can take up 3-4 hours of our time.

As an FA, we adopt the international 6 steps approach in Financial Planning. Client-Planner Introduction, Fact-finding, Plan development, Recommendation, Implemenation and Review. Each client, meet at least 3-4 times before implementation. Not like a roadshow, 1 time close.

As an FA, we do a lot of research. We represent as many as 10 Life Insurance Companies, 20 General Insurance Companies and probably over 30 Fund houses. We are expected by clients to do product and investment comparisons. Comparisons can sometimes take up quite a bit of time. Proper comparison also means proper understanding of each product and we need time to study these products.

As an FA, we have more paperwork. Due to compliances issues, we learn to use more forms than a tied agent. Due to unfamilarity of each forms by different insurers, we sometimes missed out 1 column or 1 form and got rejected by the insurer for resubmission. We have to log down each meeting with clients for future audits. We are required to track our own income and expenses for income tax purpose as well as compliation of training hours for MAS license renewal, etc.

As an FA, we have to work harder in prospecting because insurance company will not help us in generating businesses and do any marketing for us. Most people we prospect will most probably not even hear of our companies before. They may hear about Great Eastern, AIA, but never IPP, Finexis, PIAS, etc


So, is busy = good business? Yes. If each case size is big enough or we are charging large enough fee for each planning.

I'm busier but happier at the same time because deep inside me, I know this is the right platform to give Financial Advice. There are a lot of job satisfaction and I do it with pride.

I tried explaining to my parent about my job and what I do but they live in the era where an agents sell insurance by sweet talk. They know I can't talk well. Thats why they will always tell me to go get a job and a salary...

Footnote: I'm not trying to say that FA are more professional or what because there are also many FA who sell by sweet talk and know nothing about Financial Planning.


Khiat Han Hwee Adrian said...


Many consultants still believe the fastest way to make money is by sweet talk... It is good to hear you saying all this. Hope this will encourage customers to realise what you are doing is right and not those consultants.

PanzerGrenadier said...

Hi Adrian

If you have the passion for this and believe in it, I feel that financial rewards will come soon enough because word-of-mouth referral is a powerful way to get repeat business.

Wishing you all the best in your endeavours!

Khiat Han Hwee Adrian said...

Hi Panzergrenadier,

Thanks for your encouragement. Actually in this line, successful advisers is able to choose their own customers and the plans to recommend.

But for me, I talk to anyone including those relatively poor families. In fact, I find it challenging to talk to them about insurance. But frankly, this is the group of customers who often give rise to many problems and add to our workload.

The more funny part is, I even visit them at their house and buy fruits for the family at least twice. In the end, they normally just get a simple medical, accident or term plan. My commission are not even enough to cover the cost of the fruits.

I visit them because I know they won't visit me. I buy more expensive fruits because I know they are very unlikely to buy fruits like Strawberries and Cherries. Think their kids will love it.

Khiat Han Hwee Adrian said...

Add on to last message. That is another reason for me being so busy.

Medical and Accident plans.
Those who do will know. "A lot of Claims"

PanzerGrenadier said...

Hi Adrian

Just a suggestion to consider the pareto principle, i.e. analyse who are your 20% of clients who bring you 80% of income?

You may want to focus on them so that it frees up your time to look after other clients who need the insurance but who do not buy plans that earn you higher commissions.

Be well and prosper!

Kai Wei said...

Hey Adrian,

Interesting post you written up.

Wow being a FA is certainly challenging!

I guess for you the most important thing is your time?

Not sure how things work in FA line, but if these clients took you many day-time/money to secure but in the end give you many problems, I think you should drop them?

80/20 rule...80 percent of your income comes from 20 percent of your time spent.

Anyway, best wishes for your FA career!

Kai Wei
Your Weekly Dose Of Self=Help Goodness & Network Marketing Tips

Khiat Han Hwee Adrian said...


Thanks for all your advices. I will certainly keep them in mind