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Meeting halfway on a two-way street
Meeting halfway on a two-way street

Dec 04 2023

Meeting halfway on a two-way street

What do you do when you don’t agree with your mentor? Ruben Ranin from the Philippines shares his journey on how he benefits from being a mentee and a mentor.

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Ruben Ranin, a one-year MDRT member from Quezon City, the Philippines, was already a leader at a local meat company when he started as a financial advisor during the pandemic. Being a veteran in his full-time job and a rookie part-timer in the insurance industry put him in a unique position to learn the dynamic and delicate dance of giving and receiving as a mentor and mentee.     

His journey started after he got to know his neighbor in his condo building, whom he would often see in bazaars. “I found out he was a financial advisor. While I was initially uninterested in a new insurance policy due to my existing coverage, he showed me the benefits of getting an additional one.”  

Later, the same neighbor invited him to become one himself. Initially hesitant due to his demanding day job and active participation in a local photography hobbyist group, his eventual decision to join the industry was influenced by his rapport with his neighbor.  

Unfortunately, Ranin didn't pass the insurance exam on his first attempt because he was occupied with his primary job. However, he considers himself an achiever, leading him to retake and eventually pass the exam.  

The initial setback made the taste of success sweeter. As a newly minted financial advisor, he achieved MDRT status in only months. His first big client was an entrepreneur in the service industry. While he initially reached out to offer an individual policy, his tenacity and know-how convinced the business owner to secure policies for his employees.   


Mutual learning as mentor and mentee  

Now that they are colleagues, Ranin's financial advisor actively guides him in understanding the intricacies of various insurance policies and effective client prospecting techniques. In return, Ranin shares insights into people management, as his financial advisor is also their agency’s unit manager.  

Despite their complementary strengths and camaraderie, Ranin and his mentor don’t always see eye to eye. “There was one instance when we disagreed on the best approach to clinch a client. Because our deadline for our quota was drawing near, she wanted me to be more proactive in following up. However, I wanted to give the client some space, as I felt that there was a reason they could not make a decision yet.”   

Ranin was ready to defer to his mentor, but they decided to talk it over, understood where each was coming from, and compromised to follow up with the client later. The fact that they sometimes see differently on specific issues only strengthened their relationship and trust in each other’s discernment. “We would often tell each other, ‘You know what to do.’”  

Ranin saw a symbiotic mentorship relationship between him and his new secretary, whom he employed to help him balance his various responsibilities. While he would share his work learnings with her, she became his mentor with technology matters, such as graphic design and social media. He believes her skillset and attitude will get her far. “As she gains more experience and grows her network, I think she will surpass what I’ve achieved should she decide to enter the industry.”    


Standing on the shoulders of mentors   

Ranin believes in mentoring other financial advisors. He explains, “We all have unique networks and skills to share and learn.”   

He believes he owes much of his success to the mentors who helped him. “Whenever we have industry events and parties, I take note of the financial advisors who are getting recognition for their success. I introduce myself, mentioning people we may know or activities we participated in. I would invite them for coffee and pick their brains. You would be surprised at how generous and eager they are to help. If you think about it, which is scarier? Reaching out to a successful financial advisor to learn from them or to a stranger to pitch the value of insurance to them? At least with the former, since you are both financial advisors, you have many things in common.”   

From his experiences as a mentor and a mentee, Ranin found that a healthy mentorship relationship is a two-way street. “Mentees must begin with identifying their specific concerns and get their mentor’s advice on improving. Finally, the mentees must put the inputs into practice. On the other hand, mentors must impart the lessons they’ve learned on issues. Then, they must encourage mentees to take concrete steps. Taking advice without taking any action is pointless.”  

Contact: MDRTeditorial@teamlewis.com