Business is getting tougher. It is getting tougher to get more sales and cost is rising. And business owners need to find new, less expensive and better ways to get new customers, sales and markets. Working harder is fine but working smarter is better. Today business works smarter with collaborations and alliances.
The opportunities arising out of an alliance based on leveraging on someone else’s database or customer base is tremendous. It is a most cost effective way to find new market and is particularly valuable with new start- ups. (Refer to Quadrant 2 of the Leveraged Marketing Matrix.) However the question would be why would they allow you to leverage on their database? If you were doing a reverse with them i.e. Quadrant 3 then it would be pretty straightforward. Otherwise how will it work?
The principle is to give not to take
YOU will not get what you want (long term) unless you give to others what they want. The secret is leveraging is to start by GIVING.
Sometimes they might not know what they want, in which case you will have to help them discover what they need.
5 steps process- FIND-CONNECT-PITCH-IMPLEMENT-MAINTAIN
Find people who has the database or customer base you want.
Who else has the same customer base or database that you are targeting?
Where does your target market go to? Where do they frequent? What other purchasing decisions they make?
Who does your target market connect with?
What do your target market has or does that requires them to connect with a potential alliance?
Does your target market make other purchasing decisions for another party that requires them to connect with a potential alliance?
Find a way to connect with the targeted alliance
What do they need? What do they want?
How can I help them get what they want? Need?
What do I have that they might need/want?
What can I create that they might want/need?
What challenges they are facing that I can help overcome?
What are the common concerns of people in that industry?
What are their potential interests?
How can I find out more? What do I need to do to get him to tell me?
What questions do I need to ask to get him to tell me? To open up to me?
How do I confirm if that is what they want?
You might only have one chance to make a pitch that gets him to agree. So you have to make a proposal that he will find it impossible NOT TO accept or explore. What would that one sentence/question pitch would be?
Is there a way that I can make a proposal that has NO RISK? NO COST?
Once you get agreement than the next step is to implement the agreement.
YOU will have to work out the details and how a conceptual agreement can be translated to reality.
Be very careful at this stage that no issues crop up that might jeopardize the whole deal. If there are issues, it need to be addressed and agreed on quickly so that second thoughts don’t creep up.
You need to put things in writing and PAY ATTENTION TO DETAILS at this stage.
If others are involved in the implementation it is important that their understanding of the agreement is in congruence. The second liners could sometimes kill an agreement that the ‘owners’ shook hands on.
In order for an alliance to continue long term, you need to nurture the relationship. Both sides must continue to reap benefits from the arrangements. If only one side benefits then it would not last very long. So it becomes very important not to take things for granted and to periodically review the arrangements. You have to make sure that you should have alarm bells that will trigger whenever any concerns crops up and that the other parties’ concerns are addressed quickly. There could be misunderstandings, miscommunications and actions can also be misconstrued.
If the relationship helps your business you must MAINTAIN it.