What if you could measure more than 75% of your business coming from cultivated relationships?
What if you could have FUN with and ENJOY these relationships?
What if they could bring you vetted, ideal new business?
And what if, when those prospects came to you, they were already halfway through your sales cycle and all you had to do is bang it out of the park?!
Building strategic partnerships can be the key to efficient growth for entrepreneurs. Finding the right strategic partners, developing strong relationships with them, measuring the results, and activating those relationships over time can lead to new business, other key connections, and masterminding possibilities galore. Notice that I am not calling these relationships “referral partnerships” but “power partnerships.”
In my experience, this powerful marketing tool (yes, it’s a marketing tool if it generates new business!) is under utilized. This is a step-by-step guide to building successful power partnerships! In all reality, I find that there are a lot of steps to building a successful power partnership and most people give up after step #10 of 30. Just like anything in marketing and business, this takes commitment and time in order to work.
Part 1: Pre Work
- Be Ultra Clear on Your Company’s
- Mission, Vision, Values
- Target Market
- Pinpoint your niche market and develop the ability to describe them clearly and concisely
- Know what your core competencies are. What is your unique selling proposition? What do you do better than anyone else who does what you do?
- Know who your power partners or (or have an idea of who they could be)
- They share the same target market
- They do the same thing as you but focus on a different target market
- They regularly talk to the person/department who hires you
- Make a list and do your research to find out where these potential partner companies are and how you can get connected to them.
- Who are your current COIs (Centers of Influence)
- LinkedIn – do you know people who are already connected to your target power partners?
- Google search for these companies
Part 2: Establish an Abundant Mindset
- Believe in collaboration, not competition
- They DO exist
- They DO want to help
- You can help them; even if you don’t think you have end clients you can refer them
Part 3: Get the Tools
- CRM – Track meetings, organize contacts
- 1-2 page summary document of your business (what you do, your target audience, solutions you provide, what you’re looking for)
- Write an introduction paragraph that makes it easy for people to introduce you to others
- Create an email list for power partners in your email marketing software
- Have appropriate social media profiles updated so that you can connect with people online
- Phone (yes, to make phone calls to these people 🙂
Part 4: Establish Processes to Follow
Processes will help you to use this strategy effectively. Throwing stuff up against a wall doesn’t work for any marketing tactic.
Vetting Power Partners – Kissing the frogs to meet the princes. Don’t get discouraged; stick with it!
- First meeting – use your intuition to see if you feel the possibility of building a mutually beneficial relationship. Meet the first time on the phone/Zoom for about 45 minutes.
- An easy formula to use for the first conversation (on both sides of the phone or coffee table) is:
- Tell me a bit about your past business experience that has brought you to where you are today
- Where are you headed?
- Have you built successful power partnerships in the past? If so, what did they look like? (Note, this may take some education on your part)
- During your first meeting, if you feel there is potential to build the partnership further, set up a second meeting in person (or again on the phone/Zoom).
- Before that meeting, send them more information about your business, your ideal clients, and anything else that would be helpful for them to understand more about you.
- Ask them for information that can help educate you on their business.
Nurturing Power Partners
Just like dating, you need to ‘court’ your power partners. You’re not going to get married on the first date. You’re also not going to know everything there is to know about each other’s businesses on the first date either. I recommend setting up 30 minute monthly meetings with these power partners.
- Have different topics to discuss at these meetings (focus a phone call on these topics)
- Business growth goals – how can you help each other achieve them
- Target audience
- Process – how you serve your clients
- Always leave time to discuss potential referrals you may have for one another.
After a few meetings, you should know if your power partnership will be mutually beneficial and can decide if you should continue meeting. Remember, this is a give and take relationship.
Part 5: Activating
Once they’ve made it through the vetting process, now it’s time to stay in touch frequently with one another.
- Ask for referrals. Give examples of ideal client case studies; open up LinkedIn on your calls and see if there’s anyone you know who may need their services. Encourage them to do the same.
- Consider different ways to contribute to one another. It’s not always about tit-for-tat referral exchange. Think of cross promotion opportunities – through each other’s email marketing and social media channels. Ponder ways you can introduce one another to other potential power partners, and masterminding.
- Find fun ways to remain top of mind. Educate, entertain and provide value. The best strategic partners know the most about your business and understand your goals.
Part 6: Measure
Marketing tactics are only worthwhile if you track their ROI. I recommend using your CRM or a tracking spreadsheet to record your success with this tactic
- Track number of 1st meetings & subsequent meetings
- Track referrals and closed referrals from your power partners
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out! I am happy to chat with you about this topic, as it’s one I love!