One of the best ways to grow an efficiency business is to partner with non-competitive vendors or service providers. There’s a trick to doing so, though. Most “salespeople” look for a non-competitive vendor who could send them leads. Sales professionals, on the other hand, find non-competitive vendors for whom they can create new business. Why? Because it’s not enough to assure a potential vendor partner that you’re not going to reduce their current business volume if they were to send you leads. Why should they take the time to play ball with you? However, if you prove that you could be a fertile source of new leads for their business, you’ll capture their attention, and they’ll likely use whatever mechanisms you put in place to facilitate sharing of leads.
There are a multitude of benefits to forming partnerships. You can use them to provide your existing customers with new offerings (and in some situations, prevent them from searching for new vendors with more complete offerings). Provided the lead swapping becomes genuinely bilateral, you’ll also wind up with new prospects to approach with your own offerings… and you’ll be approaching those new opportunities from a position of strength because you’ve been referred by someone the prospect already trusts.
One word of caution when forming partnerships: protect your reputation. If people in either your company or your partner’s company fail to deliver what they promise, both of your reputations are at risk. Moreover, realize that if the partners who recommend you have a bad reputation to begin with, you will be tarred with the same brush. Be sure you can deliver what you promise and that they can deliver what they promise. Otherwise your prospects will think of you as being partnered with the village idiot (or worse), and your outbound marketing campaign will be compromised rather than enhanced.
Think about products and services that might benefit your customers that you don’t currently offer and research some reputable companies in your area that have a great reputation for specifying and delivering those offerings. And when you finally decide to propose a partnership, be sure to present a carefully considered and compelling case as to why joining forces would be a win-win for both of your organizations.
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