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How to build a mutually beneficial relationship with centers of influence in India, and strategies to provide value to them in return
How to build a mutually beneficial relationship with centers of influence in India, and strategies to provide value to them in return

Mar 21 2024

How to build a mutually beneficial relationship with centers of influence in India, and strategies to provide value to them in return

Vishal Bhatt underscores the importance of strategically collaborating with a center of influence to navigate and thrive in the business environment in India. 


In India’s business landscape, building mutually beneficial relationships with centers of influence (COIs) is a vital strategy for success. These COIs, often experts in their fields or well-connected individuals, can open doors and create opportunities. Vishal Bhatt, a two-year MDRT member from Gujarat, India, shares insights on simple yet effective strategies to foster mutually beneficial relationships with COIs in India and providing value in return.  

Establishing and maintaining mutually beneficial relationships with COIs in India comes with its own set of challenges. “First and foremost, cultural nuances and social hierarchies can be barriers for financial advisors. India’s diverse and complex social fabric requires an understanding of local customs and traditions to establish credibility,” Bhatt points out.  

One of the most effective strategies can be to offer support or resources that align with the COI’s goals. Bhatt shares, “Financial advisors, regardless of their position in any company, should strive to understand the fundamental needs of the clients. We must not be swayed solely by numerical targets and shortfalls; our primary focus should be on enhancing the portfolios of the clients who have entrusted us with their funds. India, characterized by immense diversity, implies that a single type of product may not precisely meet the unique requirements of every individual. Thus, as mentors for their funds, we need to analyze what the forthcoming years might demand and formulate appropriate plans accordingly. It is crucial to remember that if our clients fail to attain their financial goals, we also fall short in maintaining trust and financial credibility.” 

He adds, “One common practice that I undertake with my clients is updating the surrender value of all policies at the end of every year. I review and enhance the amounts in each market-related product. I also provide information on new fund offers that can potentially boost their fund values. Such practices bring you closer to your clients and establish your credibility. I recently informed a client about a new mutual fund offer during our regular review meeting. After discussing its potential benefits and aligning it with his goals, the client decided to reallocate a portion of his portfolio into the new fund. As a result, he experienced a significant boost in his fund values, exceeding his previous returns. This proactive approach not only optimized his investments but also strengthened our client-advisor relationship and credibility. Trust is the most significant factor in any relationship.” 

In the digital age, technology and digital platforms play a pivotal role in fostering and maintaining relationships with COIs in India. In an increasingly interconnected world, digital tools, social media, and virtual communication have become invaluable for staying connected, especially on a global scale. Bhatt believes these platforms provide a convenient means to engage with COIs, share insights, and collaborate seamlessly. While these practices, such as conducting Zoom meetings and online transactions, are now globally common, their significance remains paramount in the Indian market. Especially amid the pandemic, these digital advancements have proven indispensable, facilitating seamless connections with COIs and clients. Embracing technology continues to be a vital strategy for building and sustaining meaningful relationships, both locally and globally.,” he says.  

 Effective communication strategies to convey partnership value 

When conveying the value and benefits of a partnership to potential COIs who may be unaware or skeptical, effective communication and engagement strategies are essential. Bhatt explains, “Firstly, he differentiates himself by customizing introductions to potential COIs, addressing their specific needs. He goes beyond statistics, using storytelling to showcase real client successes, making his approach more engaging and impactful. 

Secondly, he says, “Inquire personally about the client’s requirements as well as future goals, along with their timeline. My questions cover aspects such as financial freedom, liquidity, tenure, travel plans, safety, tax planning, and budgeting. These inquiries reflect your commitment to understanding their needs. After noting all this information, provide a tailored solution that addresses their requirements comprehensively.” 

“Lastly, clarify orally discussed matters before presenting a chart or exemplar of the discussed points in the client's name. Once all details are presented in black and white, revisit the written data. I had a client seeking investment advice. After our initial discussion, I crafted a customized plan. Before presenting it in writing, I clarified all details orally, ensuring the client understood each aspect. Once she was satisfied, I provided a detailed written document. We then reconvened to review and confirm the plan, ensuring accuracy and clarity. This approach empowered her to make informed decisions about her investments. asking for clarification. It's essential that examples or charts bear your name, number, and designation, as this builds trust with the client,” he shares. 

As financial advisors, building trust and rapport is key – demonstrating commitment and a track record of delivering on promises can dispel skepticism and pave the way for more fruitful and mutually beneficial relationships with COIs, Bhatt believes. 

Contact: MDRTEditorial@teamlewis.com