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How Three Coffees Can Get You Better Strategic Alliances

Have you ever bought a house? No sooner than you buy the house than the real estate refers you on to an insurance agent. And a lawyer. And assorted services.

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Have you ever bought a house?

No sooner than you buy the house than the real estate refers you on to an insurance agent. And a lawyer. And assorted services.

In most cases, the real estate agent doesn’t get paid a commission for her referrals.

But the lawyer, insurance agent and the other assorted services refer their clients back to the real estate agent. And as a result, everyone’s super-busy. And they’re busy because they’re all alliances of each other.

So yeah, it makes sense to have strategic alliances.

But not all businesses fit as neatly as real estate alliances. So how does a business owner get an alliance started? And how do you know if you’re succeeding in creating an alliance?

Um, you’ll need a benchmark.

So what’s the benchmark?

Do we get the alliance to promote our products?
Do we get them send out our articles?
Do we do simply wait, or bug the hell out of them?

You do none of the above.

Rushing in to get an alliance to promote your product is like meeting someone at a party, and then jumping into bed fifteen minutes later.
Rushing in to get them to send out articles, is like kissing someone eleven minutes after you’ve met them. Bugging them is not really designed to get results.

So what’s the goal?

The goal is start a conversation.
The goal is to keep that conversation going.
The goal is for you to keep that conversation going for long enough that the other person recognises you on the ‘street’ and says hello.

That the other person gets your email and doesn’t trash it. That the other person gets a letter from you and doesn’t use it as toilet paper. That the other person gets a phone call from you and actually takes it, or returns the call.

That’s the goal.
And this recognition comes from conversation.

You talk. They talk back.
You talk. They talk back.
You talk. They talk back.

No talk about jumping in bed quite yet. You’re just having coffee after coffee after coffee. That’s it.

These three coffees are critical. They’re the benchmark. They’re what gets the other person to know you and like you (in some way).

This is how you know you’re succeeding.

So the question arises: what should you do when drinking all that coffee?

You should be talking about ‘what you can offer’ the strategic alliance. The only real thing an alliance is interested in is what’s in it for them.

And you’re more than likely to have something that’s of value to two groups:
1) Their prospects.
2) Their existing clients.

It’s important to spend that caffeine time finding out how the alliance attracts prospective clients. Find out how they attract clients. Offer to give them a physical product or information product ( I’ll call them goodies) that will help the alliance attract even more clients.

Then watch as your alliance’s ears perk up.

Notice how their eyes become less glazed.

This is because you’re talking about them, and not pushing your own product or service. In the same manner, you can ask how the alliance rewards existing clients.

In nine cases out of ten, the alliance will have no reward for existing clients at all. If you step in and provide something of value, then immediately the alliance is going to be interested.

Of course you’re smart enough to know that when the prospective or existing client gets the goodies, you’ll get access to a whole new audience.

The more generous you are, the more likely the alliance’s prospective or existing clients will have a look at your website, or try your product, or come to your seminar.

You’ve not only created an incentive for the alliance.

You’ve created an incentive for the alliance’s client.
And in doing so, created business for yourself.

So now you’ve downed enough coffee.
You’ve started a conversation.
How long before you get results?

It really depends.
Sometimes it takes a few weeks.
Sometimes it takes a few months.
Sometimes it may take years.

Keep drinking the coffees.

Keep talking, as long as you see that the potential alliance is worth the trouble. Because one day, they’ll accept the goodies you’re offering. And send those goodies to their clients.

And that’s the day you’ll open the floodgates to hundreds, even thousands of customers.

And it all starts with a simple coffee. Or two. Or two hundred.

And no, I don’t have any alliance with the cafe.
Not yet, at least!

Sales articles contributed by NZ Sales Manager e-magazine.