Today, it is more important than ever to identify and qualify strategic collaborators who can help you generate more sales for your business.
There are a number of questions you can ask yourself before you start looking including:
Why do you need collaborators? This may be the hardest question to answer. Strategic collaborators help you build relationships with potential customers. They introduce you to their satisfied customers. This raises their stature as a trusted advisor and should shorten your sales cycle with this prospective customer. Strategic collaborators can also provide a valuable sounding board for your ideas because you focus on similar clients.
Which target markets could strategic collaborators provide help? The most beneficial partners are those who target the same types and sizes of businesses or organizations. In an ideal world, the same buyer could purchase from you and your strategic partner. Depending on your products and services, it may be worthwhile to have different collaborators for different markets.
What products or services could complement yours in a target market? Ideally a strategic collaborator should be a person or organization that offers complementary products and services. For instance, if you are an attorney dealing with the legal issues of technology companies, you might want to build a relationship with an accountant who has a number of similar clients.
Where do you find collaborators? Trade and professional organizations, non-profit and charitable foundations and community groups are great sources. There may be colleagues or even suppliers or customers who could become strategic collaborators.
Once you know the answers to the above questions, you will know who to look for and where to look. Once you have identified and qualified potential collaborators, relationship building begins.
Get to know each other. After you identify and select a potential collaborator, the next step is to deepen your knowledge of their expertise by learning more about their products and services. During this process, get to know each other’s strengths and capabilities. This will provide you with a deeper understanding and provide you with personal experience you can share with others. Identify other organizations you both belong to or could join. Review each other’s client and prospect lists to determine if you currently work or have worked with a common client.
Decide where to work together. Identify an organization or client where you could work together. Conceptualize a project or event you can do. You may find that in collaboration, you can provide additional services to a client you previously worked with
Share business challenges. As your relationship grows, share business issues and challenges. Ask your collaborator to help you resolve them. This provides an opportunity for them to demonstrate their expertise. It provides a personal example you both can use to recommend each other.
The more you know about your collaborators, the more confident you are to recommend them.
Identifying and building relationships with strategic collaborators takes time. It can be time well spent if you define what you are looking for and how you can work together. A knowledgeable third party can be a conduit to potential collaborators. Berger Business Advisors can help you define and select collaborators who can help you generate more revenue. For a free consultation, contact us.