Not only is this a very low cost and effective strategy for, in some instances, doubling or tripling your database of potential prospects, it’s also reasonably easy to create. You will need to identify 2 to 5 noncompetitive, but associated, businesses in your local area.
By associated businesses, I mean, their goods and services may overlap, preceed or follow your services in the market supply chain for your target market. For instance, if you run a hairdressing salon, then a bridal shop, photographer, beautician, clothing store or restaurant would make suitable alliance partners in your network.
Look at the amount of interactions there could be in such a network. Also take note of the opportunities opened to access new, fresh potential clients. If your business is making a reasonable profit on your database of 200 clients, imagine the possibilities if you could introduce your services to the 1600 clients of your business alliance network. This could explode your business.
You would lower your marketing and advertising costs dramatically, whilst converting leads more easily as they would come by way of referral from the alliance partners. We all know how much easier it is making a sale based on a referral, as opposed to chasing cold leads.Even if you only manage to create one or two alliance partnerships there is still a great benefit to be had.
Mind you, you will have to build the relationship and create trust and reciprocity for these networks to work. Once each of the partners has experienced increased business and lowered marketing costs, then allowing access to their client base will be something they will be comfortable with. You all need to agree on some basic ground rules such as – no hard selling, professional conduct, great client service and constant communication.
So, start out by identifying two or three businesses that you would like to work with. Work out your approach – perhaps direct mail followed up by a phone call or phone call followed up by lunch or coffee to discuss the concept. Of course, you’ll need to outline all of the benefits, as well as the responsibilities of such an arrangement. The beauty of creating your own network is that you get to decide who you will be working with (as opposed to joining a referrals group).