One of the Most Powerful, and Underused, Marketing Tools for Small Businesses

Building strategic partnerships can be the key to fast , efficient growth for entrepreneurs. Finding the right strategic partners, developing strong relationships with them, and activating those relationships over time can lead to new business, other key connections, and masterminding possibilities galore.

In my experience, however, this powerful marketing tool (yes, it’s a marketing tool if it generates new business!) is under utilized.

So why don't many people build these relationships?

  1. They don't know where to start
  2. They feel they may have nothing to offer
  3. They don't want to grow
  4. They don’t have the patience to naturally build an authentic relationship
  5. They have tried and can’t find the right 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 business, this takes commitment and time in order to work.

Anything worth doing

Here’s a formula I have used to build successful partnerships that exists in 3 parts.

Part 1: Pre Work

  1. Know exactly who your target audience is. Pinpoint your niche market and develop the ability to describe them clearly and concisely.
  2. 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.
  3. Establish the most important criteria for selecting the right partnerships for your business.
  4. Do your research to find out where these potential partner companies are and how you can get connected to them.
  5. Ask your network to connect you.

Part 2: Vetting

Just because you’ve defined the ideal power partner doesn’t mean everyone who fits the criteria is right. This can be the longest part of the process. Don’t get discouraged, stick with it!

  1. Your first meeting is the time to use your intuition to see if you feel the possibility of building a mutually beneficial relationship. My recommendation is to meet the first time on the phone for about 45 minutes. An easy formula to use for the first conversation (on both sides of the phone or coffee table) is:
    1. Tell me about your past that led you to where you are today
    2. Where are you headed
    3. What’s your biggest obstacle
    4. How can I help you overcome that obstacle? What resource(s) would be helpful to propel you
  2. During your first meeting, if you feel there is potential to build the partnership further, set up a second meeting  in person. 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.
  3. At future meetings, discuss how you think you may be able to serve one another’s business growth goals.
  4. After a few meetings, you should know if your power partnership will be mutually beneficial and whether to continue meeting or not. Attempt to refer some business to them or perhaps another potential power partner.

Part 3: Activating

Once they’ve made it through the vetting process, now it’s time to stay in touch frequently with one another.

  1. Consider different ways to give to one another. It’s not always about tit for tat referral exchange. Think of cross promotion opportunities, ways you can introduce each other to other potential power partners, and masterminding.
  2. 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.
  3. Set up regular meetings in person or on the phone to ask additional questions about their business challenges, objectives, and who you could best refer people to.

Have you found building power partnerships to be a successful growth strategy for your company? Do you have any other ideas to share? We’d love to hear them! Please COMMENT below!

Jan, 21, 2016