Nov 01 2023 / Round the Table Magazine
Daring and different
By Bharat Vadilal Parekh
Let me share one incident with a high-net-worth client where I had to think out of the box to secure an appointment. His name caught my attention while I was reading the daily newspaper, as he was a highly regarded chartered accountant in the city who managed the accounts of many wealthy and famous personalities. I thought he would be an interesting person to work with and wanted him to become my client, but I was unknown to him. So, I sent him an introductory letter and waited a few days. Then I called, introduced myself and tried to convince him to give me an appointment.
“Hello, I am Bharat Parekh from the Life Insurance Corporation of India,” I said very enthusiastically. Before I could proceed further, he cut me short. “I am not interested in life insurance. My time is very precious, and I cannot waste it on a life insurance agent,” he said.
His words marked the end of our short conversation. As I hung up the telephone, my mind was prepared for a challenge. The prospect was continuously on my mind and after a few days, I had an idea. I called my accountant and asked him how much money I had in my bank account. He said that there was a total of 5,800 rupees. I told him to prepare a demand draft for 5,000 rupees endorsed to the prospect — 15 years ago, this was a big amount of money. The next day, I sent the check to the prospect along with a neatly typed letter in which I wrote that the enclosed draft was compensation for the time I took up during the telephone call, and I was willing to pay more to cover the cost of having an appointment with him. I stressed that it was most important that I meet him. The letter was sent by registered post with an acknowledgement of receipt.
I received the acknowledgement card from the prospect a few days later. I called him by telephone and introduced myself again. “Bharat Parekh,” he said loud and clear, “where are you now? Can you meet me in my office in a few minutes?” I readily agreed to meet him in the next half-hour. I did not know what to expect, as I was both nervous and scared. I walked into his office, ready for the worst. To my pleasant surprise, he rose from his seat and greeted me warmly. He offered me a seat and said that he was happy to meet a person who was even more professional than himself and valued time. He added that he liked my approach — found it “daring and different” — and jokingly told me that I was the first person to make such an attractive offer for an appointment.
The accountant became one of my very good clients. He returned my demand draft accompanied with a check for a much greater amount to pay for a life insurance policy premium. The sale was made. This incident encouraged me to think of unique and innovative ways of getting through to my prospects. A sale is not a victory of a life insurance salesman over the client. It is an acceptance by the client of both the product and the advisor.
Bharat Parekh is a 31-year MDRT member from Nagpur, Maharashtra, India. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org