Today we’re going to look at seven different ways that you can make business alliances.
What’s up Believe Nation? It’s Evan. My one word is “believe” and I believe that you have something special to offer and I’d love to see it explode so that you can help change the planet.
Strategic Business Alliance
So one of the fastest ways to grow your company is through alliances. You find people who are already selling to your target market and instead of you having to go one, by one, by one, by one, talking to potential customers you want to be able to talk to one person, who then could open you up to tens, hundreds, thousands, hundreds of thousands of customers. And so today I’m going to talk about seven different ways to be able to do that.
#1: Look At Where Do People Buy Before They Buy From You
So understand that buying is a cycle. People are not always ready to buy from you. People are not always ready to buy from you potential alliance partners and there’s a phase where you buy one thing from somebody and then you graduate and buy the next thing, and buy the next thing and so what you want to look at is wherever you are in that buying cycle, you want to find all the people that your customers are buying from before they buy from you.
So as an example, if you are a graphic designer. You know, you’re a graphic designer and you want to figure out the buying cycle. Maybe before somebody buys graphic design services, they have built a website or they’ve got hosting, or they’ve just incorporated a business and so all of those people here, you want to start making connections with.
You want to take them out for lunch, you want to approach them, grab a coffee, understand them and you want to learn about their business and it’s way easier to set up a meeting with a potential partner because you can help each other out much more that it is to make a cold call and try to get a meeting with a customer.
And so I’m trying to understand these people. I’m trying to figure out how I can help them. If you get business that you could potentially give to them, that’s great, right? If you now know somebody that needs website design, or needs hosting or business set up, you could refer them to these people and also you’re hoping that if you make a good impression, they could refer business onto you.
And understand that sometimes you need to work out a relationship with a commission or a fee structure where they get a flat amount in they refer you a client, or they get a percentage of a deal if they refer you a client. A lot of times they do this just because it makes them look good. It’s a value added service. If I’m a web hosting company, and I’ve just taken on a new client and I know they need graphic design, if I introduce them to somebody who does a great job, it makes them look good.
So if you do a great job for your clients, anybody that’s been referred in, it actually makes that person look great as well and you’re going to get a lot more deals coming through. So understand who the people are that your clients are buying from before they ever buy from you. Get to know them, take them to coffee, understand their business and try to find a way to work together.
#2: Understand Where People Buy From After They Buy From You
So, we understand where they’re buying from before, obviously then they’re buying from us. What’s next? Who is out in this range? So if I’m a graphic designer, and I’m making people a beautiful business card, well what’s next? They’re going to need a printer.
So what I’m going to do now is go and meet all of these people, because these are all potential alliance partners for my business as well. I want to talk to all the printers in my area. I want to talk to anybody who they’re gunna then take my graphic design services and do the next step with. I want to talk to those people cause again, one, it’s easy to make those meetings cause those partnerships you could potentially help both of each other out.
It gives you a path to refer your clients onto, and then if clients are going to them and saying “hey I love your printing services, but before we use you we need to get a good graphic design concept completed for our business card,” right? They could then pass it onto you, right?
And if you do a good job then you make them look good. So again the same idea of do you want to give them a commission, a flat fee or just be able to pass those frills back and forth and have that kind of trusted relationship. Meeting with people on both sides of the equation, and forming as many partnerships as you can can really help explode your customer base much faster than going after customers one at a time.
#3: Make Alliances Is Through Your Customers
Way number three to make alliances is through your customers. A lot of times your customers can be great conduits for either becoming a business partner in your company, passing referrals onto you, doing a tighter kind of integration with.
In my first software company, we always used our customers to fund our next development. So we had our base software, and then if a customer wanted a custom feature built, we would charge them for it. Like, okay, you want that thing added?
Great, we can do it and it’s going to cost you this amount of money. We would do it at cost. We wouldn’t really make a ton of profit off of that development, but then that feeds into our product and we can sell to everybody and so any time any customers wanted that custom integration, custom development, we would do it and it helps everybody else.
So they’re helping fund our business to grow. On my YouTube channel, as an example. When I wanted to promote my book, we reached out to a number of you guys that had YouTube channels that were already a part of the community.
You guys are my customers and we’re doing some business development with and see how we can help each other out and I appeared on your channel, you appeared on my channels and so there’s a lot of ways to make it work. If I look at at Toronto
Dance Salsa as an example, we look at the companies that people work at and often the students who come in then take the message back to their company and they tell their friends and they might put up a sign in the lunch area and help promote the school and talk about us on social media, you know, so you want to basically get as close to your customers as possible.
You want to understand why they came to you, what their needs are, what they do for a living, what makes them tick, what their needs, passions, desires are and one: that just helps you get more referrals, right? If they know you, like you, trust you, they might tell their friends about you but it could also lead to a greater integration with what they’re doing.
It may lead to a tighter relationship with the business that they’re at. More sales, more orders. Introductions up the line. When I had my software company, another quick example. So we got one scientist at Johnson and Johnson to buy our software. Johnson and Johnson’s a huge company.
They have tons of scientists and so we want to really get to know that person and see how can we use that person to get introductions to the other scientists? And then you get all the scientists in that one area.
Then how do you use those guys to leap frog to another area and so soon you’re getting more and more and more and more and more of the company. Now you can’t do that with every customer but the more you understand each individual customer you have, then you can try to figure out is there any kind of relationship that we can have to help grow this business together?
#4: Use Social Media
Tip number four is to use social media. So I wanted to build a list of potential alliance partners. The first thing I did was to reach out to people who are already familiar with me. I have a series called “Unlocking Lily” on this channel. I reached out to people who are commenting on my videos to do possible collaborations.
The second thing I did was to reach out to people who have reviewed Evan’s book or interviewed him on their channel. That way we have a mutual interest as well. And the third thing that I did was to go through Evan’s videos and to read the comments of the people.
And there I looked at people’s comments that resonated with me and I looked at their channel. If they had an “About” page I looked at what they were about to see if we align with our mission and we could work well together. From there I was able to create my list of a thousand names and I had some great collaborations and even out of that I made some great friends.
So to build alliances on social media, the number one thing you want to do is create a big list. Mine was a thousand. The more names you have, the more possibilities you’ll have. Number two is to find people that already know you and who are already following you and number three is to find people who have similar interest as you. If there’s certain videos that you love to watch, look at the people commenting. Chances are they’re on the same mission as you.
Think about all the people who you are currently spending money with. People who you are paying on a regular basis, whether you’re buying a product or service from them, and see if there might be a way that they could help make introductions for you to other people that might help your business.
So an easiest case example is looking at lawyers, accountants, bookkeepers. These are people who deal with a lot of different entrepreneurs. A lot of different kinds of businesses. And so if they know what your business is about and they know the kinds of partnerships that you’re looking to make, just letting them know.
You know, this is somebody who you might be paying once a quarter, maybe once a year. Maybe more frequently if you have more business, but they have a vested interest in helping their clients come together and form greater relationships because if you do that then they’re going to make more business, right? Like, you’re going to come back.
You’re going to give them referrals. If you’re looking at people that you buy supplies from. You know, if you’re buying t-shirts from them and you’re putting a big order every month to buy t-shirts, is there anybody that they may know that could potentially help your business?
Like what is the kind of alliance partnership that you’re looking for in an ideal world and do they have somebody that they could introduce you to? And so it doesn’t hurt to make a list of all your suppliers. All the people that you’re spending money with.
Now, if you’re spending thirty bucks a month on, you know, Verizon to get internet, I’m sure they’re not going to really care about helping you out. And so the easier ones that when you’re dealing with a person, you know, an entrepreneur, or a physical sales person at a company and you have a relationship with them.
Learn to tighten that relationship. Get to know them. Take them to coffee. Have a lunch with them. Understand what they’re after to. And try to figure out how you might be able to help each other out. Suppliers can be a fantastic alliance partnership for you.
#6: Through Banks and Governments.
And I put these two together because they’re both low leverage typically but it really just depends on the person. And so when I first just got started in my business, I went to the bank and I said “hey, I’d like some help.” And he said “well do you need a loan?” Uh, I dunno if I need a loan.
I just got started. I don’t know what I’m doing. I need help. So that’s not what banks really do but it was with somebody who was nice enough to then put me on to somebody else who then became one of my first mentors in my business. So again, banks see people all day long who are potentially able to make connections for you.
A lot of people don’t even know their banker. It’s a good idea just in general to get to know who your banker is cause if you ever need money, if you’re ever trying to get any kind of debt facility, that personal connection makes a big difference but they may also be able to refer you to other clients that they have.
Again, it really depends on the individual. Sometimes individual bankers are really friendly and really customer focused and really driven to help their clients succeed. Other times bankers just want to climb the ladder, they hate this job, they want to move up to the next step.
They don’t really care about their clients. And so it makes it harder to form that relationship. Government, on the other hand, a lot of governments have different programs in place. In Toronto, as an example, we have a group called “Enterprise Toronto.” It’s funded by the city.
It has multiple locations here and you can walk in and get help with your business. They have advisors who try to give you feedback. They will help assess your business plan. They have multiple different programs where you can apply for funding and different opportunities but they also try to connect you together.
You get to know the resource manager. At Enterprise Toronto, they may have mentors they can connect you to, they may remember another entrepreneur that came in last week that might be a good potential fit for you and so it really depends on what’s happening in your city.
You may be fortunate enough to have a lot of good government programs. You may have nothing. So that may not be a path for you. So put banks and government together because it really depends on the circumstances and who you end up being able to connect with but it’s at least worth exploring to see if there’s an opportunity for you to make an alliance partnership.
#7: Targeted Events
And number seven, my last way to form alliance partnerships, is through targeted events. I’d be looking at where my ideal partners are hanging out. What kind of events they’re going to and go to those events to get to know people. So if you’re looking at making a partnership with people who are, you know, techies who are really into programming.
You want to have a custom development shop as an alliance partner, then you want to hang out at the events that they care about. Even if it’s not super relevant to you, right? Like, you may not care anything about programming and the latest PHP development and all the stuff that’s coming out.
You don’t care about that, but they do, and they’re hanging out there so you want to go there and get to know them. Whether that’s a conference, whether that’s a meet up group, whether that’s some local event that’s happening in your city, if you know your target partners, this is marketing 101.
If you know your target partners are gunna be there, you want to be there to get to know them. And the advantage is of you being there is a lot of times the people who are like you, your competition, is not gunna be there. The people who are gunna be there are more people like them.
Their competitors, who may not want to talk to and do deals with, but this outsider comes in promoting this different option that is potentially complimentary to them, you stand out in the sea of similarness and people will want to talk to you and it’s a competitive advantage.
Versus where you might go. If you’re a marketer, you might go to marketing events. You’re like everyone else there. If the programmer came there, he would have an easier time making those connections and so hanging out is for talking to customers too, but hanging out where the people who you want to talk to are, even if it’s outside your comfort zone or where you would normally go is super important because that’s how you’re gunna get the connections.
So those are my seven tips on how to form alliance partnerships. Again, forming alliances is one of the fastest ways to grow your company because you’re thinking “I want to target one person, or ten people, or a group of people who then could introduce me to tons of people.”
The goal is not to go after one customer, one customer, one customer at a time. It works but it’s not very efficient of effective. Where if you talk to the people who could make multiple introductions for you, you’re much more likely to hyper explode your business.
So I’d love to know what you think. I’d love to know which one resonated the most with you that you’re gonna try and apply to your business ASAP.
If you’re going to add an eight, nine, ten to the list leave it down in the comments below. I’d love to hear that too. Now I made this because “I AM OMAR” asked me to.
Thank you guys again. I believe in you. Hope you continue to believe in yourself and whatever your one word is. Much love. I’ll see you soon.
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