26 Dec Wisdom from Deepesh Mehta
Deepesh Mehta IFA and author is a successful IFA from Bengaluru. He has recently authored a very relevant book to do with education planning for children. Deepesh conducts several Investor Awareness Programs in Bangalore to grow his customer base. Deepesh is a young turk of the advisory industry and has achieved a great deal of success in a very short span of time. I always believe that success in our business is less dependant upon the products and regulator and more dependant on the strategy an IFA adopts. In a free wheeling discussion with Deepesh I have asked him to explain the secrets behind his stupendous success. Please do read about his journey and how he used the challenges of the times to get a clearer vision of the business and how clarity has helped him to accelerate his business. The short answer format of this interview was Deepesh’s idea to help explain his strategy in a clear and easy manner. We hope this interview will give an important perspective of the IFA business.
1) Kindly talk us through your advisory business journey?
After completion of my graduation in 2006, I desired to do something on my own. I got a job in Karvy Stock Broking ltd in Bangalore. I was asked to sell mutual funds and insurance.
I worked for 1 year and then I decided I should start on my own. I had not even completed 22 years and opened my company called GROW WEALTH in Aug 2007 which is running good today. As I started, 2008 financial crisis happened and markets took 1.5 year to recover. And then on 1st Aug 2009, entry load was banned and my income and clients reduced.
Post this, in 2011-2012, markets fell by 30% and my income further reduced. Then again in 2013, direct plans came in and again my income reduced to the lowest point that it can.
In 2014 beginning, I took a break for 1 month to understand what should I do?
I discovered that my business was running on hand glider and was dependent on good winds to keep them afloat. I decided that I should have a stronger engine, may be propeller engine or a twin Engine jet plane .
To build my business like a jet plane, I decided that I should represent the client in all his matters and decided to pursue knowledge by doing CFP.
CFP changed the entire practice process and from 2014 beginning, there was no way that I had to look back. I was loaded with Jet engine and no winds (external environment) decide my direction.
2) What are the key challenges before advisors and how to overcome the same?
Advisor challenge will neither come from direct, robo adviser nor from lower commission. Advisor challenge will come because mutual funds would be more and more commoditised. My fear is, it may become an OTC (over the counter) product and the client will demand value if he wants to be advised from the advisor.
To overcome this, every advisor needs to find an answer for WHY SHOULD I BUY MUTUAL FUNDS FROM HIM.
If an advisor can strategise his business model and find a WHY , he can overcome the challenge.
3) What do you see the impact of the following on business
A) Direct- It will exist forever and one has to accept that and like every business, even this will have any impact going forward.
B) Robot Advisor- It is a positive move as that opens a bigger market for IFAs
C) Lower commissions – Lower commissions will hook your client towards you because lower the commission , lesser the gap between direct and regular. Once volume increases, lower commission will not impact.
4) How do you ensure your clients are happy?
Client requires a genuine friend cum adviser. When you take that position, the happiness index of the client planner relationship increases.
5) Talk us through your strategy to grow business.
IFAs are wealth doctors. The more patients they see the more business they will get. Meet clients and your business will grow.
6) Can you write about your large IAPs? How you manage them? How it works for you? How you get the audience? Your advice for small IFAs in this regards
There are two IAP that can be done. The one which is large in number is for basic education purpose.
Small groups will be useful to have a 1-2-1 conversation among the attendees.
I generally prefer IAP to be smaller in number as this would bring more 1-2-1 discussion.
7) What are the challenges you face while preparing for your IAPs? How do you overcome the challenges?
The biggest challenge is to do with people not turning up in your IAP. This sometimes demotivates the trainer.
The best way to overcome this is, inform the audience in advance the expectation from the program. Based on this,you get to know the number of attendees as the audience know what they would get when they attend
8) What are the follow up processes after an IAP
After the IAP, I send a normal SMS to all the people who attended the IAP. This records my phone number in their SMS inbox.
Not everyone will have money to invest on the day I do the IAP. Hence this method works.
While conducting IAP, I have a feedback form which asks do you want to avail our services. People who want to avail our services write YES and I contact them one by one.
9) What kind of conversions from small IAPs and from big IAPs
Conversions from small IAP are less, but ticket size is more. From bigger ones haven’t seen great conversion
10) While you say we can communicate but still people ditch sometimes at the last moment. Do you have any other strategy to deal with this
No such strategy has worked.Last minute reminders and follow ups work
11) What are your mantras for success for an IFA?
a) Build a team around you and give the client the assurance of the team.
b) Prospect every day. 30% of your time should be spent on prospecting.
c) Have a process oriented practice.
d) Upskill yourself daily. Read minimum 2 hours a day.
e) Specialize yourself with some course for IFAs.
You should grow 3X in the next two years if you follow the above points.
12) Talk us through the journey of Deepesh from advisor to author
I have conducted more than 200 IAPs in my career. During every IAP the common concern that I used to hear from the audience is how can I ensure that my child’s future expenses is planned. This concern came when I discussed about inflationary expenses for child’s higher education expenses.
That’s when I decided that I should write a book and thus I wrote my first book POWER YOUR CHILD’S FINANCIAL FUTURE, which is published by CNBC TV18.
The book is doing extremely well and it is a must read for IFAs as it serves as a reference point when they have to plan for their client’s child’s education expenses.
It has been reviewed by outlook money in the Dec month issue and here is the link to buy the same.