Ivan Toh Yi Qing
Ivan believes in overcoming challenges to find success on his chosen path.
It was during the last year of my degree in Biological Sciences when I realised biology would not be the field for me after graduation.
I was open to exploring career options and I was approached by my current director. He was the youngest director in AXA, having started out at the age of 28. His story inspired me a lot and I took a leap of faith to join him in the field of insurance as a Financial Planner.
My journey with AXA started off with fear and uncertainty as I did not have relevant experience and I did not know what was in store. Moreover, I was always in a race against time to hit my personal target each month, and I even thought of quitting.
About my role
As a Financial Services Manager now, my daily responsibilities include training new agents, working on the field, and headhunting goal-oriented individuals to join my team.
Friends and family members are usually the first few clients for a new financial planner. However, they can also be the ones giving the most criticism instead of encouragement for the choice of career.
Rather than giving up, I was determined to make my mark with new client prospects. I read up on investing, analysed the reasons for failed appointments and referred to videos of successful salespeople.
After investing in myself, the fruits of my labour started to ripen three months later. In my two years in this industry, I learnt not to go against circumstances and not to blame anyone. Obstacles are here to test you, and to help you learn and grow.
The biggest and most memorable achievement in my career was receiving the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) award. It is conferred to top achievers in the industry. The thought of getting this globally recognised award has never crossed my mind, since I was not hitting my targets in my first year.
Essential qualities in my job
The most essential quality to do well in this job is to be genuine. You need to offer solutions which are genuinely helpful to your clients’ circumstances and you need to have a strong belief in these solutions.
Many people have a misconception that you can only do well in the insurance industry if you have prior sales experience. To me, this is just a myth. I have compressed two years of my sales experience into a manuscript for new agents to refer to. This has been working well, with one of my agents being on track to achieving his first MDRT this year.
Advice for graduates
A definite formula for success in this industry is to announce to the whole world what you want to achieve, so that you are more likely to be held accountable for it. I shared my aim to be successful with my friends and family. This prevented me from quitting eventually.