Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Crabby Land and the Crystalbelle Crabs

Once upon a time, a group of fishermen started to sell "Crystalbelle Crabs" in Crabby Land. These Crystalbelle Crabs are able to bring happiness and health to the people of Crabby Land. These crabs sold are based on weight and the acceptable price is $30/kg. The Crabs are sold via distribution agents and a agreed commission is paid for each crab sold.

Over time, this crab business became competitive and the fishermen decided to differentiate their crabs. They decorated the shell and increased the price to $40/kg. The distributing agents were good and were able to convince people that crabs with decorated shells should cost $10 more than the one without decorations.

Over time again, every fishermen started to decorate the crabs shell and they see a need to differentiate themselves again. They decided to "Re-brand" and called themselves "The Hip Generation" crabs producers. They spent millions to advertise and promote their crabs and raise the price of the crabs to $50/kg. The fishermen also started to pay a higher rate of commission to the distributing agents because it is harder to sell a $50/kg crab than the $30/kg crab.

The distributing agents were good and still able to sell the crabs at $50/kg by telling their customers that the decorated crabs with rebranding gives more benefits. Some were even awarded with Million Crabs Rattan Table (MCRT) for every $100,000 worth of crabs they sold in a year. The fisherman's affliated Associations then brand MCRT as if they were more professional just because they are able to sell more $50/kg crabs.

Some of these distributing agents are very well trained and started to earn a lot of money compared to the fish sellers. Some of them do not care whether the Crabbylanders need a $30/kg crab or the $50/kg crab. Younger agents are then roped in to sell more $50/kg crabs.

Some people started to realise that by buying the $50/kg crabs, they are able to eat lesser of the Crystalbelle crabs and hence resulted being less happy and healthy. These people started to query the National Crabs Association if they should stop the sales of the $50 crabs. Instead the National Crabs Association now requires the distributing agents to file a 20 pages reports as of why the consumers need to buy the $50/kg crabs and not that $30/kg crabs. However this move is not successful because the agents are trained by the fisherman to justify that the $50 crabs are better. Therefore the sales of the $50 crabs continue to soar and people pay that extra $20 for less happiness and health.

Today, there are 3 groups of people who feel that the practice need to change.

1) The first group feel that the fisherman should stop selling the $50/kg crabs and start to re-focus on the $30/kg crabs which the people needed, just how things are when the trade started. They believe that decorated crabs or non-decorated crabs brings the same health and happiness to the crabbylanders.

2) The second group feel that they should be paid a $100/hr to advice crabbylanders on how to source for the $30/kg crabs or even a $25/kg crab as they can save $5 on the distributing agents commissions. They feel that the agents will always sell the more expensive crabs because they want to earn more money. They may not need to bother if the person buy crab eventually.

3) The 3rd group feel that the shells should be removed before they are being weighed. They feel that it is not fair that people pay for the shell that they don't eat. They feel that the fisherman and agents are not ethical by selling the crabs with shell.

The 3 groups of believers faced a lot of challenges.
1) No fisherman dare to sell only the $30/kg crabs again because the sales of the $50/kg crabs are still going well. If they start selling the cheaper crab again, no distributing agents will want to work for them and their bottom line will be affected.

2) There are not many people willing to pay for crab consultancy. There was no guideline as of how much crab consultants should be paid. Crabbylanders are known to demand for a $100 job for each $10 paid.
If the National Crab Assocation is to ban commission, many crabs distributors will go out of job because they cannot be paid $10 for a $100 job. When there are less crab distributors, less people will be told the good benefits of Cystalbelles Crabs.

3) The fisherman cannot just sell the meat without the shell as their profit margin will be greatly reduced. Over long term, these fisherman will find that the business is not viable and get out of Crabbyland. When this happens, Crabbylanders may not be able to enjoy the benefits of Crystalbelle Crabs anymore.

Many supporters of the above 3 groups started to put the blame on the distributing agents without realising that it started from the fisherman. There are good and bad distributing agents but they are often grouped together to be called unethical. They did not realise that the distributing agents had played an important role in convincing crabbylanders to eat Crystalbelle crabs and are needed serve their long term interest of health and happiness into the future.

The National Crab Association don't seems to do much except designing more directives for the distributing agents and spending more money to audits them. They probably need to put more pressure on the fisherman instead on why the $50/kg crabs are there in the first place. The fisherman should design a more innovative payout schemes for their distributing agents and yet able to serve Crabbylanders' interest over the long term.

Its perfectly fine if you don't know what crab I'm talking about. Crititize me as crap if you like it because what I wrote is indeed crap. I got the idea after eating Yummy Crab along Changi Road last Sunday.


Anonymous said...

Don't worry, be persistent. As long as what you sell contains real crab meat, you'll be fine. Other distributing agents are now selling fake crab meat to further increase profit margin...

Anonymous said...

It is load of crap. It sounds like insurance companies and their agents both inm cahoot to con the buyers.

Anonymous said...

Hey, wait the Crab Assocation of Singapore don't issue license for you to sell crabs. You better be careful...

Anonymous said...

Adrain is using this crabby story to disguise the activities of insurance agents.

Anonymous said...

Writing this article doesn't change the fact that your way of doing things is not working.

What is your 2nd or 3rd source of income if your main source of income is not working? Don't tell me there's none.

Anonymous said...


Good story! I liked the part about the Crab Consultancy. Paid to source for $30 crabs.

Mike, Qotion.com

Anonymous said...

Sell without the shell? Do you mean buy ETF and group term insurances. Don't need to go through any agents and don't need any fund managers?
Really got to analyse your story. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

The problem is insurance agents only sell crabs with the shell to hide the rotten meat inside.Just like one limited payment whoelife product with a lot outside frills to distract the customers. And agents actually selll the frills.
I once passed a roadshow and this agent asked me whether 3 times coverage for death benefit was attractive to me, and no mention of accident.This is the shell , of no value, was costed into the premium.

Anonymous said...

The only reason why most people appear to listen to Wilfred and TKL is because they project a rich and successful image. They believe that they're a scarce resource that people have to queue up for.

You allow people to be rude to you. That's why people don't listen to you. So you got not enough business, therefore not rich and successful enough. Burying yourself in sorrow and write negative posts...cycle repeats itself.

Wed, I went out to make $200. Thur, I'll make $100. Everyday is income, and I don't even have to touch WL/Term/ILP or UT, much less write a 30page Know Your Client thesis. If any of my existing clients ask for the cheapskate i-Term, I can well afford to go down and let them sign without worrying about next month's income.

Even if MAS change the industry into a fee-based one, clients will still not pick you. Why? See above.

Your parents are waiting for a grandson, just like my parents are. You need big changes. I believe you tell your clients this:

"Take action before it's too late."

Khiat Han Hwee Adrian said...

I'm not trying to write negative posts. I"m writing what I see and feel. I'm certainly not a Million Crab Rattan Table calibre but I'm able to make a proper living thanks to the referrals I got from many of my policyholders who experienced what I did for them.

I have the volume of business even though I get lesser for each. When the customer base is up, I also got more Motor Insurances. I'm in my 2nd year and I'm already getting my 1st year renewals.

I'm may be tired at times but generally doing okay and I hope people don't feel that I'm self-pitying myself.

Anonymous said...

If adrain were to throw ethics to the wind he can make it big but not necessary as insurance agent.He was from ntuc but becuase of ethics he was not at the top unlike many who would stoop to anything, from rebate to false info and misleading info and to cheating old folks.If that is about earning a living might as well become a ah long, rob the bank or a bookmaker.
Adrain, you mustn't let all these people screw up and tempt you into doing something against your values.
Just do what you are doing.

Anonymous said...

Dear Adrian,

1) Your clients do not care whether you make $1 or $1000 from the transaction. Their concern is to get what they really want, whether $1 or $1000. You have to decide whether to serve the client with $1 potential income. If you spend too much time on the $1 case and mess it up, chances are you'll mess up the $1000 case as well. Coz no mood to do the big case. "Why I do so much for the $1 client, he still complain!?"

2) You don't know nor do you try to understand what the other party really wants. Those who post "greedy/wicked insurance agent" posts in blogs do not want to hear of anyone who earns little from a case. They only want the cheap thrill of posting an insult. Talk is cheap, and yes, it's free too.

3) Useful info, like how people can use the Nets card to pay $1 for a $1.50 Old Chang Kee item, is more productive than those commission disclosure posts.

4) Those clients who behave as if they're a "good catch" just because there's potential for a $1 case must be fired immediately. Why? You imagine how he's going to behave when he gives you a $50 case a few years down the road. And, to ensure you're in the mood to do the $1000 case.

There are some issues with your decision-making. Surely someone has told you this before.

Anonymous said...

There are certain things that are better remain unsaid in the public arena. These personal matters should be best shared with closed friends and colleagues, not over the webpage.

You can mention negative observations but what will differentiate you from the rest is how you can provide a better alternative from the status quo.

Anonymous said...

Actually what Adrian says make a lot of sense.
Why are all those 3 generations plans exist?
Why are all those anticipated endowment exist?
Why are all those high cost ILPs exist?
Why are all those multiple or early CI payout plans exist?
Why are Singaporeans still under-insured?
Are people getting the necessary coverage first or are they simply confused with too many plans around?
Whose fault is it? Shall we blame the agents or the insurance companies? Or its just the people who are simply not smart enough?

There are a lot of insight in this article. I like this. Well Done. Adrian.

Anonymous said...

One point you forgot to mention is the position of the new Chief Crab Officer. The new Chief Crab Officer sat in his office, sipping red wine and massaging his claws and thinking hard on how to massage the statistics to meet his KPIs. Then he had a brilliant crabby idea, how to increase his profits by making his crabby agents sell more shell than meat for each transaction. He knew the customers would get him if they have proof of it so he called in one of his crabby consultants from a foreign land and together they coined the term "reshaping" the roe from each crab they sell. They say that they are "smoothing" the rough edges of the crabs for the good of the customers. "Reshaping" the roe, actually reducing the most delicious part of the crab is meant to be for the health of the customer, as too much roe is bad for health. Too much roe for the customer would mean less caviar for Board of Crabs that appear annually at the Awfully Good Moment at a posh 6-star hotel near his crabby office.
So now the customer pay more to get less in the wake of reshaping and smoothing. What a crabby idea, but what else can one expect from a crabby chief salesman?

Anonymous said...

Anon October 24, 2009 4:12 AM,

Hahaha, very funny and very familiar.
Must be Adrain's former Chief Crab.
Anyway, all the crabs in this place are getting more crabby each day pushing harder crabs without the roe.
Why do they care? As long they get the fat commission and they get to go to Peking next year to wine and dine with policyholders' roe..Hope the Great Wall will cave in under their weight and all get buried in it and be part of it for future generation to revisit.

Anonymous said...

No, it is not the former chief. He is a saint, not a crab. I am merely a policyholder who have trusted the housebrand for the last twenty over years and am feeling very indignant about being shortchanged by these new crabby dealers, that's all...

kebever said...

what if the crabbylanders are better educated/informed so they know when they buy the $50 crabs it's just for the 'service' and 'status'.

So those who just want to eat crabs can buy the $30, and those who want the 'service' and 'status' can go for more expensive crabs, well knowing that they are not getting anymore nutritional value.

Anonymous said...

But unfortunately, after paying more you actually do not get better service and status but instead will be paying for the expensive chairs that grace the fat crabs bottoms and paying for the erotic trips to exotic places for the crabby agents plus paying for the high salaries of the foreign crab CONsultants not to mention the crabby mutual beneficial relationship between the newspapers and the Chief Crab using your higher premiums to advertise full page full color adverts in exchange for?