In 2003-04 when I started my career in the financial world I was an extreme unknown citizen of this world.  I joined one of the leading broking houses of Kolkata name Karvy Stock broking where I was asked to join as business distribution fellow. I joined Saltlake branch which was one of the best branches of the broking firm and the branch head was Mr. Joydeep Mookherjee. My first few month of training in that company was never provided and I was asked to report to one of the senior named Mr. Subendhu Mukherjee. I was asked to sale mutual fund and I remember that my first sales were of Rs.80000/. I sold this product since I prepared a research note on infrastructure growth, jotting down points from the economic times. I mugged them and went to give the presentation to the client and got the business. Hundreds of training was arranged by the company was full of wastage since none of them taught that by which way we can sale the product in the market in the right way. I know many will say that nobody provides any training about how you will sell the mutual fund scheme or trading account to a client. We provide training about product and its specification and business process, polices, work ethics, moral values etc.  But do we provide training how this product will be sold and what the client is looking for and how one will match and identify the requirement of the client. I will be discussing about this part in a broader manner later on in this article.

It used to be heard often from the seniors at that point of time that once has to learn while in the process of sales. But what process we are discussing here? Do you mean process as the Branch head guiding you to sell or your senior acting as mentor? In my career I have seen the game of recruitment of 100 people in the sales across branches and after 6 months turning out 80% of them, based on ground that they are incapable to achieve the sales targets. Well in this competitive world no body teaches any one. Only few handfuls of people who are willing to build a team from young folks and growing the same are being found in this financial world. In my career and surrounding I have found both of them. In my career I found a fellow named Mr. Manojit Chatterjee who took the courage to build team while working Religare and now he is the Branch Head of a renowned broking firm in Kolkata with the same team. The same type of another fellow I found Miss.Mahuya De who formed a team and created the 1st distribution team of Bajaj Allianz Financial Distribution in 2007 March in Kolkata. Now these stories are histories but we need to learn from the history how successful business grows.  We are not in the phase of 2003 where penetration level of equity investment was low. Online platforms and technological up gradation has changed the culture of investments. Hence your young recruitments need to be trained in a different manner so that clients and company gets into a win–win proposition.  The above successful teams are being build based upon the below mentioned strategy and not based upon humiliating words of the sales head/Branch head.

The reason behind writing all these histories and success stories is that we are again in the journey of an historic bull market in the Indian stock market. Broking firms and financial distribution companies like Trading Account, Mutual fund and Fixed Deposits are back on the street. Huge salaries, bag full of incentives and innovative franchise models would be flocking on the streets. But the biggest difficulty in acquisition of clients and meeting the targets of the company and branches would be from the quality of knowledge being provided to the young vibrant college pass out new sales people. One need to understand that today there are several companies who are having broking and financial business.  They are all in the race of acquisition of clients, hence knowledge and the power of the same is the key trigger for acquisition of client. We need to drop out the traditional process of selling products like Trading account, Mutual Fund etc. We need different approach where companies or branch managers should create their branches as school where these young fellows should be provided knowledge about how to read balance sheet, interpretation of ratios, and stock price movement analysis with fundamentals over the last 5 years. This type of training and knowledge building approach should be adopted in every company. The advantages would be that when these young fellows will vomit the same story in front of their clients acquisition of clients would become more easy since today’s clients prefer to work with experts an don’t with fresher’s. This also reduces the rejection/refusal percentage from the clients when your company or branch representative visits that client. Just imagine when one particular client is being visited by 4 broking or financial companies and they all repeat the same story of sales approach.  You being the 5th one following this strategy become the lucky fellow to get the clients portfolio in your kitty.

We need to get these fellows groomed with process but not depending on the process of Branch mangers kindness and senior’s pressure based sales process. We need well defined fixed process format where team building should be based on knowledge. Now a question might come up that if I provide and groom these fellows with so much internal investments then why should I pay hefty packages? Well in today’s competition if you don’t be the first, be ready to be the last. Today’s clients are more informed hence your sales representatives should be well educated in terms of the product history and its ins and outs. Gone are the days when individual product focus based sales approach used to be the key. Today we need to adopt the strategy of getting the entire clients portfolio is one place. For doing this it takes immense trust which we need to build through our knowledge backed approach.

High level of attrition rates threats to the company’s good will which every branch and company should learn. Team building cannot be a forced sales pressure and humiliating words of the branch head or its senior reporting bosses. Today’s sales competition is with better informed knowledgeable manpower and creating a challenging atmosphere for the clients not to refuse your business proposals. In insurance companies I find that young fellows are being briefed about products of the companies but did any company provide training about its historical products and its performance covering the life cycle of the product. The days of general training are over. We need to convert every sales fellow as researcher, a product manager etc. When a branch and its company has some distinct plans for its young employees in the long term then only the company would be able to create a mark in the market. The old process of sales where targets and its achievement measure policies cannot be adopted.

These process only lead to mis-selling since we all know that miss selling happens only when humiliating words of the seniors becomes a nightmare. That is why I said that every branch and company should try to become a school and create genius in the coming decade in the upcoming biggest financial bull market of India. When we create brigade of these types of young professionals we create a revolution in the market which further filters the financial market players. Moreover new teams are being created where is mis-selling is not the survival option.   Branch heads must learn that in this upcoming bull market high levels of attrition cannot be accepted and hence we need to plan ahead rather than hiring blindly and later on turning these fellows out. This might save the Branch Heads and managers from the axe of the senior management but in the long term this entire things goes detrimental to the company’s growth in the long run. Hence invest on knowledge for your newly young sales team.