Most of us are looking to grow our business in some way, and high on our priority list is the acquisition of new customers. Finding new, qualified prospects is one of the most difficult parts of the sales process. To conquer this, there are many ways that we can fast track this process…
I am not sure about you, but if there is a slow and difficult way to finding more customers versus a quicker and more rewarding way, I know which one I would pick.
The tactic in question is the approach of developing strategic alliances. This is working coherently with like-minded businesses that have the same target market as you, yet are typically not in competition.
I’m continually putting these relationships together, and am always on the look out for such relationships for ourselves.
The lesson of the power of forming strategic alliances was strongest when developing our property business. We had an investment property product that was an alternative to a pension and resulted in a fair size investment to be made by the customer for some significant long-term rewards. Finding people for this product from traditional advertising and digital media was inconsistent at best and brought very unpredictable results. This led us to consider which business professionals have access to a good number of our target customers. Defining our target market gave us the understanding that our potential customers were typically successful business owners and high salaried employees that were already valuable customers of Financial Advisors, Accountants and Solicitors.
This allowed us to change our sales process entirely and take control
of our results by forming countless small partnerships with these professionals who could introduce us to their customer base. Just imagine the difference it would make to your business if you were receiving tens of referred appointments with personal recommendations.
Achieving this is within your control if you follow some simple steps;
- Define your target market – Understand exactly who your ideal customer is and what their current spending habits are.
- Identify potential partner industries – Take care to consider all avenues of potential product and service providers that already have a trusted relationship with your target market.
- Make a list – List the names and contact details of the people in the organisations that you would like to speak with.
- Create a win/win scenario – Successful strategic alliances will only work if both parties are happy with the rewards for the effort. Financial reward is only one form of motivation, so consider what else you have to offer. Expertise, data and introductions are all immensely valuable.
- Create appointments to build relationships – Get face-to-face with the people who you are looking to refer you and your business. We would always prefer to introduce a human than an organization—it’s more rewarding for the introducer.
- Look for first action – It’s easy when discussing potential alliances to get excited by the big picture. The idea will then “grow legs” and will soon become a massive job. Experience tells me that if you make the change too significant, nothing will happen. As such, start with something small. I would typically look for just the first introduction.
- Communicate like a pro – When you receive introductions, you must understand that you are being trusted with someone else’s most valuable asset. Act accordingly and communicate with your introducer every step of the way.
- Say Thank You – Two of the nicest words to hear together in the English language are “Thank You”, take the time to show your sincere gratitude for each introduction you are passed, regardless of results.
- Over deliver – Whatever you promise to your introducer, you must over deliver. A big goal is to get the contact introduced and to thank your introducer for the introduction. If you can gain this result, then expect a good number of further introductions. Why not start thinking today about who could be passing you a steady stream of business? Which would you choose: Finding customers one at a time, or utilizing someone else’s hard work and receiving them in multiples? I know which option I would choose…