Strategic Alliance STEP #1:First, identify all the compatible businesses you know who already have a relationship with clients that could be yours as well. Ask yourself this question: “Who else in a compatible business has already established trust from a list of clients who could further benefit from my services or business?” The secret is to find a service provider whose clients best match the markets you serve. And it’s important that they have a formal list of their client base – such as a database. Compatible businesses could include:
- An investment broker who has a client list he or she has built over the years;
- An accountant who has dealt with home buyers in the past;
- An appraiser, banker, architect, builder or other professional service provider to people whom you would like to be known by;
- A home service provider, such as a landscaper, painter, plumber, pool maintenance, pest control, etc.
Strategic Alliance STEP #2:OK, once you’ve identified a series of businesses, it’s now time to approach them with your proposition. REMEMBER THIS: Any service provider should turn flips to work with you, because it will mean increased business for them as well. Hopefully you and your alliance partner already know and trust each other, because that’s the key to endorsing each other’s services. Would you like a letter to use that’s proven to bring you a barrage of interest from potential Strategic Alliance Partners? OK, try this (remember this is copyrighted to be used in your business ONLY)…
Strategic Alliance STEP #3:At this point you probably have your partner’s interest. So now you need to create your special offer to each other’s customers/clients. Here’s the secret: Make your offer appealing in the eyes of your client/customer, simple and easy to understand, and even easier to take advantage-of. Here’s a list of items you want to consider:
- The offer will probably be in the form of a personalized letter from the endorser (other person) to his/her clients. It’s important to have a personalized letter. You can accomplish this by using your database and mail merge capabilities — it’s very easy.
- Your offer must be SPECIAL and EXCLUSIVE to the clients/customers for whom it’s intended. And, it truly must be a special offer for them to even consider it.
- Clearly explain the offer: A free trial, a free consultation, free report, free valuation, discount on your first purchase. Your offer must be strong enough for them to want to try it. And make it easy to understand.
- Tell WHY you are making the offer. Give them the reasons why they’re so special, you’re making them a special offer. What circumstances have created this opportunity?
- The offer must be LIMITED. That is, it must be a one time offer, or available for a limited time.
- Your offer must be RISK-FREE for your clients to consider it. Therefore, it must contain an assurance of satisfaction.
Strategic Alliance STEP #4:At this point, you need to create an easy and non-threatening response device. It could be a postage-paid response card, a special coupon or certificate, or a hotline or phone number for them to call. I also suggest you have some urgency attached to it, such as an expiration date. Here’s a tip: Include a bonus or premium with your offer to motivate fast response—an additional gift or offer of value if they take advantage of the offer before your expiration date. Premiums work well, but the premium must have value as well as the main offer.
Strategic Alliance STEP #5:Get ALL of the names on your database! Once you each start getting response to your respective offers, remember to follow-up. If you can, try to get every name of your partner’s client base in a database file for follow-up mailings. If you cannot, ALWAYS get the name, address, and phone of all people who inquired on your offer. The key to making the offer work is:
- Deliver on your promise. Give them outstanding service and follow-through;
- Start the conversion process: get them on your database and work the “prospect” to “client” to “advocate.” This is very important.
- Cultivate them for a referral or repeat business. Even if they don’t do business with you right now, you need to keep the conversion process going!
- Continue to provide value, even if they don’t buy. Get them on your newsletter list, send occasional article reprints, make future offers to them. Never let them go!