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The Sales Whisperer

Perminder Chohan, managing director of Desjardins Financial Security Independent Network, trains and mentors salespeople to help them reach their full potential

Credit: Natalia Anja Photography

Perminder Chohan is a sales professional, author and philanthropist

Perminder Chohan, managing director of Desjardins Financial Security Independent Network, trains and mentors salespeople to help them reach their full potential

“I dream like a crazy person.” These are not the kind of words one expects to hear from a buttoned-down financial-services professional. But as Perminder Chohan, managing director of the number-one-selling office in the Desjardins Financial Security Independent Network, says: successful people dream differently. They think about how to change, grow and improve every single day.

“I check my system four to five times a day, and I am always thinking about how I can tweak what I do to get to the next level,” he says.

The story of Chohan’s own success began in India, where he lived until he migrated to Canada in 1990. When he arrived, like many immigrants, he took what work was available. He found a job at a plastic factory, but was later laid off, going on to own plumbing and mobile-phone businesses, and dabbling in direct marketing. But he found his calling when he accompanied a friend to a job interview at a financial-planning company in 1998. They hired him, and in just six months, he went on to become the company’s number-one agent in Canada. In 2003, he switched gears and moved into selling life insurance.

Desjardins came calling in 2009, and Chohan made a move to establish the company’s Richmond South Financial Centre, becoming a managing director in the Financial Security Independent Network, Desjardins’ network of independent brokerages that provide financial planning, saving, insurance and investment services.

For this role, he left selling behind, in favour of recruiting, training and mentoring salespeople.

“Because I do not sell, I make myself available to my people every day in the office,” he says. To brainstorm ideas and share closing techniques, but also to encourage salespeople to change their entire psychology around goal-setting.

“If you want something, sometimes you get a different answer from your heart and your brain,” he says. “I teach people to train their brains to go in the right direction.” For instance: if your heart says you want to make $100,000 this year, your brain might respond with all the reasons that’s not going to happen. “I sit down with the person and break down the process from top to bottom—how to take the steps to achieve that goal,” he explains.

Chohan has co-authored two bestselling books on his mentorship and training techniques: Uncommon – Dreams with Deadlines, with motivational speaker Brian Tracy; and Professional Performance 360 Special Edition: Success, with a group of international entrepreneurs that includes Richard Branson. He is currently working on a third book, a solo effort.

One thing Chohan emphasizes in all of his work: success is not about material gain alone. In the last year alone, Chohan’s office sponsored more than 36 charities, including the Surrey Memorial Hospital, B.C. Children’s Hospital, Ronald McDonald House, the Heart and Stroke Foundation, the Surrey Food Bank and the Canadian Cancer Society. The list goes on. Chohan will also serve as president of the Surrey-Newton Rotary Club in 2018.

“It’s about the difference you’re making in other people around you,” says Chohan. “That was always in my personality and mind, even when I was growing up in India,” he says. “It was always in my DNA somehow.”