Planning for life ahead

From back office to frontline ... Ho quit her job as a fund manager to pursue a fulfilling career as a life planner.

WORKING in an investment bank, it never occurred to Kelly Ho, 41, that she would one day quit her nine-to-five job to pursue a more rewarding one.

A former fund manager, Ho's career as an AIA life planner started eight years ago after her husband, who was an AIA unit manager at that time, asked her to join his team at Ace Power Group based in Petaling Jaya.

“I have never thought that I would become a life planner. The main reason why I’m here today is because of my husband – he was the main influence behind my decision.

“He has been in this industry for over 20 years and nine years back he asked me to join as he wanted to expand his team.

“It took me about a year to think about the offer as I was climbing the corporate ladder. In the end, I decided to join him because I believed that this would be a good opportunity for us to have our own business.”

Moving from one industry to another can be a big shift, but for Ho, having the support and guidance from her husband definitely helped in the transition.

“When I was in the corporate world, I was never in the frontline facing customers. So when I jumped into sales, I have to start everything from scratch such as approaching clients and looking for new prospects. And because my husband was the leader of the group, my learning curve had to be steep and I’ve to pick up everything fast.

“I was at an advantage because I’ve been exposed to this industry early on from my husband, so I caught on quite quickly.”

Any new life planner would know that the early years can prove to be the most challenging.

Ho explained that the challenges faced during the beginning can actually mould and shape new life planners to grow in the business in the long run.

“If you want to make it in this industry, you must not have a Plan B. If you are going to turn back along the way, you’re not going to make it. It takes a certain kind of people to get through the hardship.

“But I can guarantee you that this will be the most rewarding and fulfilling career not only in monetary terms but also in terms of life’s fulfillment where you can help people when they are most in need – be it when they are hospitalised, lose their loved ones or even in their retirement.

“The fulfilment is indescribable,” explained the mother of three.

No success is without its sacrifice. For a life planner to be successful, they first need to have a strong sense of discipline.

“If you want to be successful, discipline is number one and this is the habit that we want to inculcate in every life planner," she said.

Among the initiatives done by AIA in helping life planners meet their business goals is through its Sales Builder. Functioning as an activity tracking system, it allows life planners to set their benchmarks and work together with their leaders or managers to identify own strengths and weaknesses.

“Our agency is one of the few which has meetings every weekday without fail to make sure that the new planners succeed.

“And I’m proud to say that my team members’ sales performance is consistently above the average,” said Ho. As a unit manager, Ho actively seeks out talented and dynamic individuals who share similar passion and goals to be part of her growing team.

“I hope to double the size of my team and my main focus now is to help more young people and groom more young leaders. I want them to be better and more successful than where we are right now.”

In addition to Sales Builder, Ho mentioned that AIA also has a holistic programme that grooms and develops its Life Planners to be future leaders. Known as the Nurture Premier Agent (NPA) programme, it offers top notch trainings whilst providing them with the necessary support system.

Under the NPA programme, new life planners also receive a monthly allowance that ranges from RM3,500 to RM9,000. Apart from being entitled to receive commissions and incentives, the newbies may also be rewarded with bonuses that can reach up to RM2million within a span of 10 years.

An avid supporter of AIA’s science-backed wellness programme, AIA Vitality, Ho believes that the programme is beneficial to today’s modern lifestyle with its multiple perks and health benefits.

“We were one of the first agencies introduced to this programme and because of our active background, we like it a lot.

“In the long run, AIA Vitality helps everyone because it encourages its members to stay healthy and be rewarded for doing so by participating health and lifestyle partners such as Boost Juice, Fitness First, TGV Cinemas, Air Asia and many more.”

This article is brought to you by AIA. To find out more about the exciting career as an AIA Life Planner, visit the website here.

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