THE POWER OF STRATEGIC ALLIANCES
Guest Blog Post By Stephanie Ward
One of the most effective ways to market your products or services is to create strategic alliances.
Strategic alliances are partnerships with companies who sell to a client base similar to yours but they sell different products and services.
The idea is to find partners whose clients may also be interested in your products/services.
Many times people will casually agree to spread the word about each other’s products and services. This is the idea of ‘you send me clients and I will send you clients.’ But this approach is rarely effective and here’s why.
Why Casual Agreements Don’t Work
(1) The agreement is vague and undefined.
(2) One or both people may not fully understand what the other does.
(3) People are busy and forget.
(4) Both people may be waiting to ‘get something’ first before they get into action to help the other.
(5) One person may be more interested than the other.
(6) There may be a higher value for one person than the other.
To eliminate all of these issues, simply create a specific offer for potential strategic alliance partners. Offer to give something to your partners for every person they refer to you who ends up purchasing your products or services.
This can be a percentage of your fee or total purchase, some of your products or services, or something else you mutually agree upon.
The motivation for partners to send you clients isn’t only about what they will get in return. It is just a way to thank them for their effort, let them know that you are serious about the alliance, and to create commitment.
Think about it, you’re probably currently spending money doing some kind of marketing or advertising. There is no way to know for sure that you will see a return on this investment.
When you create strategic alliances your investment is guaranteed because you only ‘pay’ once you have a new client.
What’s more, strategic alliances leverage marketing efforts because a partnership allows you to market to many people via your partners, one-to many, instead of one-to-one.
Strategic Alliances are a Triple Win
(1) Your partners win because they are able to be a resource and help someone find what they need as well as receive an incentive for their effort.
(2) The person who buys the products or services wins because they find what they need.
(3) And you win because you have a new client.
Get started by simply thinking about companies you know who may be potential partners and contact them to see if they are open to the idea.
An alliance doesn’t have to be complicated and in most cases a written agreement isn’t necessary. The goal is to create alliances with people you trust and who trust you.
Examples of Strategic Alliances
* Nutritionist and a Personal Trainer or Gym
* Employment Recruiter or Language School and a Relocation Agency
* Tax Advisor and a Financial Advisor
* Artist and an Interior Designer
* Massage Therapist and a Hair Salon
* Professional Organizer and a Moving Company
* Consultant and a Trainer
* Website Designer and a Copy Writer
In order for your partners to give you a genuine referral it is important that they have sampled your products or experienced your services. If they understand firsthand the benefits of your products and services it will make it easy for them to tell others about you.
How Strategic Alliance Partners Can Help Each Other
– Mention your company in their newsletter
– Give a coupon for a sample of your products and services
– Send a letter to their clients introducing them to your products and services and perhaps offering them a special deal
– Add your website link to their website
– Simply tell their clients about your company when the opportunity arises
If your partners want to create their own specific offer for you in return for you sending them clients, that is great as well. It is an added bonus and it isn’t a requirement in order to create a beneficial partnership because the agreements are separate from one another.
By now you can see the value of creating strategic alliances. So what are you waiting for? Look through your contacts and see which companies might be perfect strategic alliance partners for your company. Then get into action and contact them.
© Stephanie Ward
SOME ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
(Interviews on The Global Spotlight Podcast)
Who is your IDEAL client and how do you support them?
My ideal clients are service-based solopreneurs and small business owners. I’m a marketing coach and I help them design and plan a marketing strategy that fits for them so they can have a steady stream of cool clients. I also give my clients unique ideas for their businesses and suggest additional ways they can be more profitable by adding new revenue streams.
What advice do you have for NEWBIE COACHES just starting out their coaching journey?
Get clear on who your ideal clients are and focus on the results you deliver for them. Coaching is an intangible service and the more concrete you can make it the better. People don’t care about what coaching is or how it works, they just want help getting their problems solved. Also, it is a business and you will have to spend more time than you probably think on marketing your business. So get comfortable with that and create a process that you enjoy.