Strategic alliances are an important part of growing a business; unfortunately, I have not found many business owners actively pursing this form of business growth. I categorize strategic alliances under two main groups;
- The first group is my referral group; people whose work I respect and use and am happy to refer them to friends and clients. I have two people in each of the categories I recommend. When asked for a referral for a service or product, I give out two names and tell them to select the one they feel most comfortable with. A good list should have between 40 and 50 different types of businesses.
- Always ask permission before giving a name out as a referral
- Ask your referral list to call you when they receive a referral using your name
- Ask those to whom you are giving a referral to use your name when calling.
- Ask for a report once they have used your referral. This allows you to make sure that the service provided is worthy of your recommendation. If you don’t receive a call back, call the person and see if they used your referral and if the results were satisfactory.
- Stay in touch which each business in this group at least once a quarter. I suggest a personal phone call as your first option.
- Keep these businesses on your monthly newsletter list. They are also potential referral sources for you.
- The second group is made up of business owners who have the same business philosophy I have as far as customer service and have up to date knowledge of their products and services.
- This group has the same target market as I have, but offer different products or services.
- I only select one person in each business category
- Each person in this group should be approached individually to discuss the benefits of working together and how to best share each other’s client base.
- This group will be smaller than the first group, ( most typically between 10 and 12)
- Sponsor a quarterly breakfast for this group. (Even at $15 a person it may be the least expensive but most effective marketing tool you have).
- Pick a name for this group (the duck’s strategic alliance is my group’s name)
Another tool to add to your in box; marketing is the most critical part of your business. A lot of tools have to be tried, and the ones that work the best become part of your war chest.
Credibility grows when appointments are kept, promises are acted upon, facts are verified, and services are rendered.
Make it a successful today!