Friday, October 3, 2008

Another Max Choice to an elderly

I should be writing about US/Euro indexes today but I encountered some unhappy thing and I like to complain a bit. I admit I'm a whiner but I won't admit that I'm a green eye monster...

It is about a good prospect of mine who is also my Incomeshield Client. She is a housewife in her late 50s. She called in August to seek my advice on a maturing deposit from OCBC that matures in Sep. We arranged to meet up in late August just to chit-chat and to discuss on her options. A simple fact-finding and risk profiling was done during the 1st meeting.
She told me that she like to use half of the money to invest and half for her son's wedding. I went back, planned something for her and met her 2 week later to present my proposal. I prepared something for $25,000 as per her intention. In my recommendation, part of it will be invested and part in a Single Premium Endowment. She told me that she will like to consider.

I called her this morning to follow up on my recommendation. She told me that she had purchased the plan from OCBC of which she will put in $10+k a year for 5 years and possibly get around $63,000 back at end of 10 years. Needless to say, I know its Max Choice.

Asked her how she got into this plan, she told me that OCBC insisted that she has to collect her maturity cheque in Ang Mo Kio Hub and that they are obliged to inform her about their current promotions. She went AMK and was recommended this plan and immediately re-deposit the cheque back to OCBC into this plan. Asked why she didn't consult me about this plan first, she told me she don't want to trouble me.


How I feel...
1) Lousy with myself because
a) OCBC RM is able to convince her $50k within an hour and I'm not able to convince her on just $25k after 2 meetings where I spent at least 8 hours including meeting, travelling and planning.
b) what I planned is easily better than this Max Choice plan. I didn't manage to gain her trust and she gets into something which is not of good value.

2) Lousy for my client because she did not get into a good deal. Why I say that?
a) She will be locked into this plan for the next 10 years.
b) Her $50,000 cannot be invested from day 1. When $10,000 is invested in 1st year, she still have to worry about her $40,000 in the bank which are idling from year 2 to 4.
c) $63,000 on maturity is barely ~3.2% p.a over 10 years.
d) Out of this $63,000, only ~$46,000 are guaranteed. This means technically, she can even make a loss.
e) Any withdrawal before 10 years will means a big loss to her
f) Such plan are probably suitable for those who are working and don't have a lumpsum to save and there is a need to save on a regular basis.
g) It doesn't make sense for a 58 yrs old housewife, with no regular income, already have the lumpsum of money and priority is want to maximise this cash lumpsum, to get into such plan!!!

3) A better deal can be easily planned out for her based on a 10 years time horzion. This client now wants me to plan something for her $40,000 which are must mature between 2-4 years and have the highest interest. I have no idea what I can do for her now based on such requirement. I don't know if I should meet her and probably spend another 8 hours and get nothing in return. I always have this problem when dealing with elderly Aunties and Uncles.

One thing I like to hightlight here is, "If your client visits the bank, the chance that they get something from them is high." The RMs can really pitch a concept and Sales within 1 hour. Its my 2nd time I lost a client to this plan in just 2 months. Both are sold to old Aunties and both are $10,000/yr. What a coincidence...


wilfredling said...


Tell your client that you do not work for free and that you'll charge her for an advisory fee. If she is sincere she will ask you how much it will cost (than you have to give her an amount). If she is not sincere, she will immediately hang up the phone. For the later case, at least you know the client was taking you for a ride all this while.

You need a systematic and effective way to block off clients that are not sincere. In this way, you can concentrate your energy and effort to those clients who are sincere.

Anonymous said...

There are bump consumers like her and there are unscrupulous RMs like the OCBC. They match and the deal is closed.
What can you do? Has the 7 day free look expired? Can you salvaged for her good?

Khiat Han Hwee Adrian said...

Hi Wilfred,

I will seriously consider the fee based approach once I'm more settled and when the right system are up. Thanks for your advice.

For this case, she even blamed for not informing her on the 2%p.a Capital Plus by NTUC Income which last for only 1 week or so. What a day...

Anonymous said...

Look deeper inside of you, you sure you not green eye at all? Cos you do sounds that way at times.

You can't do much in this sitution anyway.

Anonymous said...

do not just listen to others who ask you to charge an advisory fee, there are bad apples everywhere and ethics are also in question. follow your heart to do what you think is right

Derek said...

Hi Adrian,

Maybe you can try to change your approach towards them. Although you are planning something for their best interest, they may not think so. It's important to understand what they are thinking and then think of strategies from there.

Part of the reason why the RM is more successful may be because he knows your client soft spot and target specifically to that area.

Don't be dishearten, I'm sure they will be clients that respect and appreciate your good intentions.


IFA said...

looks like your expertise is neither in advisory nor sales.. what are you good at?

If you were good at advisory.. you would have figured out what is the profile of the customer and what product she is looking at.

Instead, you proposed what you feel is right for her, and not what she thinks she needs.

Try this. In your next meetup with a prospect, give her/him what she think she needs. Then show her the other option of what you think she needs.

As an advisor, you are supposed to give advice and if it means giving options, then do it. That way, you do justice to both yourself and the customer. You gave her options and she chose one option.

Had you been good at advisory, you would have sift out that the customer might be very risk-averse and when she hears investment, she will run like hell. So, they will never invest no matter how great the benefit is.

That is why some people will just keep renewing their FD instead of investing. Or the recent mini-bond saga where people think it's as safe as FD. I believe Maxchoice is presented as like FD product. We know it's not good for the your job is to highlight that to them.. give them options and if they still insist.. you have done your best.

YES... You are a WHINER..
and you know what... why do you whine all the time and never bother to find out what went wrong and correct it.
It's no point whining and whining.

Case in point - YOU Mentioned The RM in banks are so good in concept and sales? Oh Com'on.. you think they were born with it? I believe they put effort in it and perfecting it. You? You complain...
When you can't get cases.. you console yourself that you are not suited for sales and your strength lies in advisory...

now... this post of yours highlighted that you are not good in advisory either... coz the most important in advisory is identifying what type of customer you are attending to and to customize solutions to his needs (not your needs).

So what's next?... What else can you blame it on?

Anonymous said...

Wilfreling is right. I knwo it is easier said than done but Wilfred has a proven system in place.He has come a long way.He is no more a service giver as insurance agents have been percieved all these years, he is an advsier , a planner. You need to position yourself as a fee charging planner and not a free service giver.This old woman took you as that.You should write her off. Don't waste your time. Take it as another lesson, another experience.

Anonymous said...

Hello Adrian,

In my job, I occasionallly have to approve credit terms for retail customers. No choice, have to do "profiling", much as we dislike to do so.

Chracteristics like address, age group, education background, likely wealth, job nature.


Khiat Han Hwee Adrian said...

Its usual that we gain some and lose some customers. I'm in this business long enough to understand this.

I know my weaknesses especially towards those in the late 40s and 50s. This client of mine is a very nice lady and is not trying to take me for a ride.

I'm sincerely want to give her the best. I put in much effort for her but just not good enough to gain her trust.

I just have to reflect on myself and thank all of you for advising me on this. What I also learned is that some RMs are really good. They can hit the soft button within a short time frame and our clients will sign on the dotted line.

Khiat Han Hwee Adrian said...


I'm a whiner but not a loser. I wrote when I lost to someone who do not put in good practice in advisory. If the person gives good advice, I got nothing to say. If not, I got a lot of things to say.

I really never even think that plan like Max Choice can be an option for this old lady.

But, IFA, I really appreciate your comment and will still look into it during my reflection when I go back Malaysia this weekend.

Anonymous said...

I agreed IFA in one area...try to understand clients' need and work around her needs. I dun think it is fair to impose an advisory fee if she thinks that you are not "advising" but mainly "selling". In fact I think most pple are there are willing to pay a fee if they think your advice add value to them. There are many agents out there who had spoilt the market by behaving like salesman instead of professional advisers. Dun write her off yet, who knows? that she might recommend her friends to you.

Anonymous said...

3october,2008 11.00Pm, when you are charging fee you are a professional. You are fully responsible. You are liable for the outcome. Unlike commission, you pick it and run and the cleints don't even know what hit them. The most unethical agents are the ones who take commission and do nothing .

Anonymous said...

You seems to take criticisms badly but enjoy criticising others. Hope that you will really reflect and stop being a bitter gourd. When you lose business, there are also other reasons apart from RMs being able to push soft buttons.

Hope you will become not only a better adviser but also a better and happier person. Let go of it and don't be unhappy with the old woman or RM anymore.

Anonymous said...

You all very bad to keep saying AK trying to criticise others or is bitter. I read word by word in this posting and don't understand why you all say such things to him.

I do not know him personally but he did gave me good info of what is happening. It shall serves as good warning to me or my mother one day if we are recommended such plan. We will be more careful with what is recommended.

Don't be disturbed by all these noises. I enjoy reading your blog because you are frank and you don't hold back what to say. Keep it up.

Anonymous said...

This is the third time I am saying the same thing to you. Get out of this insurance thing for good. You are not cut out for this type of job. Like what you are doing for that old lady who did not listen to you even though you have given good advice but rather want to listen to that exploitative RM, so it is with you. Why you chose not to listen to me who gives you good advice for free but you prefer to listen to people like Wilfred is because people like to hear what they want to hear and not what is good for them.

IFA said...

There adrian...
It's not just me who feels that way..
I looked thru your other posts and it seems some others highlighted to you to stop being a whiner and start becoming a winner by starting to work on yourself first.

It's up to you now.

Khiat Han Hwee Adrian said...

Thanks for all your encouragements, observations about me and advices given.

I appreaciate your comments, whether positive or negatives. These comments shall stay in my blog for me to reflect upon at different stages of my life.

I touch my heart and say 3 things.
1) I do whine sometimes, but when I do, I try to put across some message to share with my readers. The main essenses is on the sharing and not on the complain.
2) I'm not green eye about other people successes especially if I feel its not through honourable means. I'll always try to learn from honorable and successful people.
3) Though I'm not born with much natural talents in this profession, I'll not give up on myself. I love this job and will do my best forward.

Anonymous said...

I know Adrian personally for more than 30 years and have seen him grow up since young. I can assure all of you that he is really a honest, persevering and hardworking person.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I know Adrian is an honest hardworking person. But sometimes job matching is very important. It does not mean that the best person for a particular job must be very honest and very hardworking or even very intelligent. There is such a thing as suitability for a job. The higher the suitability the higher the success rate. Coming from a HR background I must say that Adrian should not feel that he is giving up on himself if he chooses another more suitable line. In fact, he is not giving himself and his clients a fair deal if he chooses to stubbornly stick on. He needs to understand his own strengths and weaknesses and use it to his customers and his own advantage rather than insisting on trudging on when it is abundantly clear through his expressions that he is like a square peg in a round hole in this job.
He does not have to take my word for it. He can spend some time with a HR consultant who can measure his strengths and weaknesses objectively and recommend him the kind of jobs he will be most suited for.

Anonymous said...

4.57pm, did you mean that some jobs honesty is not suitable?

Anonymous said...


The world is not perfect and will not be perfect. There are good and bad people. There are smart and foolish people. There are greedy and honest people.

You cannot put your world to be same as other people world. Not everyone will think and work like you. Be yourself, trust and allow God to guide you, just like what you used to do. You will soon find success and happiness.

Anonymous said...

9.04 am,
Of course not. In any jobs there will always be people who are more honest as well as crooks. What I am referring to is the personality as well as the skillset which is transferable. Adrian will do well to have his personality and skillset matched by a HR professional who can then suggest the kind of jobs that his particular skillset and personality will have the highest chances of success.

nhyone said...

I sometimes wonder how people can keep the 'anonymous's straight.

(Can leave a nick or initials or not?)

A blog is not a diary. Rant all you want, but you should make it positive. Is there something positive about your post?

Did you ask your client why she chose the OCBC's plan? Perhaps you can learn from the RM. :)

Khiat Han Hwee Adrian said...

Hi nhyone,

thanks for your input about how our blogs should stay positive and how I should learn from others.

When I started this blog 2 yrs ago, I only want to use this media to communicate with my friends and clients as well as to give them some info on Health and Wealth. I also wish to let them know how I'm doing as they knows me personally as friends.

Over time, this blog started to be read by people who do not know me. I was misunderstood several times whenever I wrote things that I saw about other agents and RMs.

Example, in this posting, my objective is to tell others about how old people are being sold with plans that are of not good value for them and my reasons for saying these. However, comments flows to say that I'm jealous of others success or being too critical of other people.

Of course, I'll be worried that my friends or clients will think that I'm really of such character. I realised that I have to be careful of what I write. Its better not to write something too personal about myself or to name any particular group of people when I try to point out something which I don't see is right.

Many people though remain anonymous, I had learnt a great deal from them. They simply don't like to reveal who they are. I don't even know the person who wrote that he knows me over 30 years. Must be my siblings or cousins.

Anonymous said...

don't be disturbed by nyhone's comments.
You are doing ok. You have balanced postings. Positive postings delude the readers and negative postings warn the readers.Your comments are your personal expereinces as a financial adviser. Your expereinces
let the readers know there are all kind of consumers, the real savvy, the pretend to be smart, the know a little bit,the unstable, the light ear ones, the idiots , the clueless, the trusting ones etc... the list can go on. The best is dealing with the "pretend to be smart ones". You can play on their ego and pride you get the sale.They don't know they are worse than the sotong. That is life . thereare all sort of people.

nhyone said...

10:23 AM, by positive, I mean nothing other than trying to learn something from the situation and seeing how to do better in the future.

I like what Adrian is doing, but if he sincerely believes he has the superior product, why does he lose his client?

Adrain, try to imagine what it takes to win your future clients. Can you do it? Do you know your competition?

I'm not asking Adrain to emulate the RM. I'm just asking him to find out why the RM succeeded and what he can learn from it.