Building Your Partner Platform
A formal strategic partner network might be the most powerful form of lead generation your business can build (a bold statement, I know).
When you partner with non-competing businesses that have your same ideal client, you can gain access to potentially large networks of prospects through your partners. Here are a few tips to get started.
Create a list of potential strategic partners
You shouldn’t just be looking for people who can refer business to you. You should be looking for people and organizations who can be assets for your business. In other words, when a client or prospect asks you if you know of anybody who can help them with X, Y, or Z, you need to have team members that you trust that you can refer clients and prospects to. Build an extension of your team through partnerships because it provides an asset to your existing clients and will ultimately be a tremendous source of leads for you.
Write your perfect “introduction in reverse” letter
Once you have your list of potential strategic partners in mind, you need to develop your introduction letter. This is a tool that you’re going to use to educate your strategic partners, but you’ve got to do it for yourself first. You need to have an understanding of the points below:
- How you can spot your ideal client
- How to present your core message
- List of trigger statements
- Your referral offer
- Your marketing process
When you have the answers to the points above, send your introduction letter that addresses them. In your document, also include a letter that will make it easy for them to teach the best way to refer you, and include one of yours as well that will not only serve as an example but so that they can use it when referring your business as well. Sample copy may include:
Sample copy may include:
“Our shared client told us we should get in touch with you, so I wanted to reach out! We have clients that we believe can benefit from your services. We’d love it if you would teach us the best way to introduce you to them. We’ve included a document that will help you outline the best ways for us to refer you to others and have included one of our own for reference…”
As you can see, this is a great way to start conversations and build your network. You’ll come to find that by building partnerships in this way, you’ll get a pretty high response rate.
Create guest post, co-branded content or workshops to offer to your partners
Once the introductions are made, you want to make sure you have your platform put in place and know how to kick off the relationship. Consider announcing your partnership by:
- Conducting a video interview of them
- Having them on your podcast
- Creating content opportunities – How you can give them a guest post or vice versa
- Acquiring special offers from one another
- Making mutual referrals
- Providing ratings and reviews
- Creating events together – Consider offering to do a presentation for their clients
You basically want to have a buttoned up way of working together that you can propose to them. As you continue to build partnerships, it will set you up to get a lot of referrals naturally.
Since many of the people reading this are consultants, consider teaching this type of approach and system to your clients. You can actually monetize these efforts by offering classes or workshops that teach best practices (make this free to your partners to add value).
To learn more, read my blog post about using content to generate referrals.
Create a more formal structure around your most active partners
As you continue building partnerships, you’ll find that some don’t last long whereas others are active and extremely beneficial for your business. For the latter, create a more formal structure to include co-marketing, cross-linking, reviews, and co-hosted events.
Keep in mind that all of this is a mindset. You must view your partner relationships not simply as referral sources, but as assets that allow you to deliver more value to your customers.
If you liked this post, check out our Guide to Building a Small Business Marketing Consulting Practice.