This week my guests are Greg Konfederak and Kris Krupecki from Profit Tree.
It’s a financial advice firm they set up specifically for Eastern Europeans living in the UK. We chat about how Greg and Kris came up with the idea, built their business and the challenges they faced.
Welcome to episode 212 of the Marketing and Finance Podcast.
What you’ll hear about in this episode
Where the inspiration for Profit Tree came from
Why customers struggle with complex financial language
The services Profit Tree provides
How Profit Tree overcome customer objections
How they launched Profit Tree in the UK
The company’s approach to marketing
Who are Greg and Kris?
Greg now splits his time between London and the Warsaw office. He previously worked in construction, but the credit crunch made things much harder, which led to co-founding Profit Tree. They act as brokers for mainly Eastern Europeans living in the UK, supporting people to make the right insurance choices.
Kris first learned about financial services at university in 2000, where he was studying political science. In 2009 he got into the financial services industry in the UK. The unique challenges faced by the business founders, such as buying a house or securing car insurance, led them to set up Profit Tree.
Summary of our chat
Profit Tree is a financial adviser firm set up specifically for Eastern Europeans living in the UK.
All of the founders have previously worked in businesses where they were helping new arrivals to settle into life in the UK. They noticed that people struggled to adapt and had no confidence. They decided they could do a better job by supporting people the way they wish they’d been helped when they relocated.
No matter what your first language, legal and financial documents are hard to understand. Many Profit Tree customers have no idea what they’ve agreed to and just signed the paperwork finance companies give them. They appreciate speaking to an adviser in their native language so they know exactly what their obligations are.
Profit Tree offers a range of insurances: life cover and critical illness, income protection, business liability and indemnity, buildings and car insurance and mortgage advice. They’re looking to add money transfers and ISAs. They also have a custom-built fracture cover product to meet the demand for health insurance for children, which isn’t offered in the UK.
There’s an assumption that financial advisers are only interested in getting a commission, and in Eastern Europe, people are even more suspicious of them. Some people think that financial services companies don’t pay out, and it’s the first objection Profit Tree have to overcome. Then, they explain why their services are necessary, and that claims will be successful.
The business started in 2010, with a great idea but little money. They secured some funding and found a tiny office for the four founders. Then they recruited for sales members and experienced rapid growth. The growth continued after a restructure and Profit Tree now has 10 offices in the UK and two in Poland.
Early on, the business was built on referrals and excellent customer services. They do a lot of marketing offline, by attending events, particularly those for the Eastern European community. Talking to people face to face allows them to build trust and helps them understand the importance of having proper insurance cover.
One thing Greg and Kris would like listeners to take away
If you’ve got a vision and truly believe that you can do something different, that reflects the needs of your target market and fulfils your dreams, then pursue it. It’s down to you whether or not you’re happy in life and business.
Any business, wherever it is in the world, should have happy customers as it’s main priority. That means lots of things, such as good products and services, great customer support and a clear vision. The most important thing is to focus on the customer, not the sale.