Be Successful at Business Development by Partnering – in Smart Ways
Partner to create a "first ever" that attracts more clients, per-client spending, referrals and media coverage.
What do these success stories have in common?
• Who knows how many people chose to stay at the Ritz Carlton rather than at another luxury hotel because of an added thrill- complimentary use of a brand new Mercedes during their stay?
• T-shirt designer Tami Minatelli could exhibited at nine street fairs this summer. A manufacturer of a new, unique, no-stain suntan lotion paid for Tami’s booth each time. That’s because she wore their lotion and her T-shirts, with a sign above her head, describing her original painting-on-cotton method and the lotion’s “do no harm” guarantee. Next to burn protection, that’s the biggest concern of people who use suntan lotions.
• When Weight Watchers created low-cal menu items for Applebee’s restaurants, each company enjoyed a credible introduction to each other’s customers. Plus they attracted more of their kind of customers and media coverage of their “first-ever” alliance, while reducing promotional costs.
• When The Discovery Channel, The Military Channel and the city of New York joined forces, the city received millions from these partners to restore historic buildings and to launch a campaign to attract visitors to them, a campaign that will feature the programs that the media companies are creating at those historic sites.
Through partnerships such as John Jay’s they can stand in a highly-competitive and fast-changing world.
As consumers enjoy more choices and ways to compare, businesses need credible methods to add value without cutting prices or increasing promotional or overhead costs.
For business owners, the single most efficient tool to become top-of-mind in their market is partnering – in smart ways. With the right allies and methods, any kind or size of business – or club, association, government agency or cause – can generate the extra visibility and value that tips more customers towards them.
Generating more sales is vital in this cash-strapped economy. That’s why it is heartening to discover that you can increase sales – with the right partners and methods. For starters, adapt a variation of one of the proven partnerships cited by Seth Godin today. In each situation, the partnership captured more sales for all partners than they could have generated on their own.
First find reputable businesses that serve the same kind of customers as you do. What resources could you share? What actions could you take together that would reduce promotional costs while increasing the number of prospective customers you can reach in a credible way?
No matter what kind or size of brick and mortar business you operate, reach more clients more credibly than you can by solo advertising, often while spending less – with the right partners and methods. Jumpstart your first partnerships with one of these 14 low-cost, high-reward methods:
1. Print joint promotional messages and or tips on your bills.
2. Offer a reduced price, special service, or convenience if customers buy services or products from you and your partner.
3. Hang signs or posters promoting one another on your walls, windows, or products.
4. Mention one another’s benefits and customer testimonials when you speak at local events or are interviewed by the media.
5. Show the joint use of your services and their benefit to your mutual market of clients.
6. Pool mailing lists and send out a joint promotional postcard.
7. Promote your partners’ products during their slow times, and ask them to do the same for you.
8. Share inexpensive ads in local shopping papers, online or nonprofit event program.
9. Give a joint interview to your key media or bloggers.
10. Put one another’s promotional messages on Lucite stands on counters or floor stands in waiting areas.
11. Encourage your staff to mention how your partner’s products can be used with yours.
12. Give your partner’s product to your customers when they buy a large quantity of your product, and ask your partner to do the same.
13. Use door hangers, posters, flyers, or postcards to promote special offers for one another’s products.
14. Co-produce an in-store or other event, demonstration, celebrity appearance, free service, or lecture.
In recruiting partners, don’t start by talking about your business. Instead just ask for five minutes to “suggest a way we can both generate more sales.” That person is likely to say yes, then speak to the sweet spot of mutual benefit. Briefly describe your suggested method then explicitly show how it will help you both. Then ask your prospective partner would like to explore the specifics about who would do what, when and how.
Look for unlikely allies. They:
• Help you stand out form the competition
• Often enable you to be seen when that competition isn’t even in sight
• Are more likely to be able to forge a media-attracting “first ever” partnership with you.
Hear more success stories and tips on how to jumpstart our first partnerships in this interview with Anita Campbell.
• Get introduced to prospective customers by businesses they already use and trust.
• Reach more hot prospects more frequently and credibly.
• Attract media stories that make you their top-of-mind choice.
• Provide customers extra value without incurring extra costs.
• Support causes in ways that attract more spending.
• Motivate more people to make compelling referrals.
• Raise employee interest and abilities as they participate
• Keep your company on the cutting edge.
• Stabilize your business during slow times.
• Inspire increased per-customer buying.
Way back in June, 2005, Business Week had an extensive and extremely popular spread on The Power of Us, offering success stories of firms that were co-creating products with their customers and engaging in other partnerships. In just a few short years there’s been a proliferation of creative partnerships. Costs for partnering have dropped while the economic need has skyrocketed.
Now collaboration seems to be the single most popular way to grow any kind of organization - and strengthen community ties. How are you or will you partner to delight and serve your kind of customers? I’d love to hear.
Learn more about the author, Kare Anderson.
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