Monday, February 2, 2009

Strategic Partnerships

How do we know what strategic partnerships are worthwhile for our business?  How do we know that a "partner" will actually drive sales or customers?  What is the basis of "trade?" These questions are often asked by clients and today I specifically walked through some of the measures and ROI (return on investment) which can be considered for a good strategic partnership.  The following are considerations:
  • Advertising / Branding - Each impression of a business identity is worth money.  Further, providing an outlet for another business to have some of your space is advertising.  If you pay to advertise above urinals in a restroom, having materials in  your business should be of value.  This may be only in one direction - if so, it is worth cash.  Things like brochures, business cards and other print collateral fall in this category.
  • Referrals - Each customer which comes to you should be "compensatable."  Also, consider if the referrals are returned.  If so this is a roughly equal exchange.  I recommend that this should go in both directions in nearly every case.
  • Experiences / Product Sampling - Often you will need to experience a given product or service before you are able to sell it or recommend it to one of your clients.  I suggest that you expect generous samples of the product or service both for you and for clients you refer. Referrals work well if the client receives some additional value for following your recommendation.
  • Marketing / Showcasing opportunities - There may be chances to conduct seminars, lectures, group classes or provide a format for many people to be exposed to a given person or product.  Make sure these are in a mutually agreed on format with mutually agreed on costs and revenue (if any.)  Generally this also goes in both directions.
Be sure to communicate the expectations clearly and honestly during the discussion with strategic partners.  Good luck!

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