Strategic Business Alliances

What is a Strategic Business Alliance?
A Strategic Business Alliance is formed when two or more businesses join together with the purpose of assisting each other in their business objectives. This often means sharing resources, business ideas, business tools, customer referrals and perhaps joint ventured events.

Why create a Strategic Business Alliance?
We’ve all heard this phrase “It’s not what you know, but who you know” this could not be truer when it comes to your Strategic Business Alliance. Think about it, you have a data base of client contacts and your Strategic Business Alliance has a data base when you combine your offerings and share some of your contacts you offer more and have just expanded your client base! Rather effortless “relationship marketing”. Remember that a personal referral or recommendation is much more powerful than simply shopping through the yellow pages.

How do I find or create a Strategic Business Alliance?
Finding a Strategic Business Alliance is actually easier than you may think. Think of your customer and what you provide to them. There are many other needs that your customer has and someone else already provides those. THAT is a great place to start. For example, you are a Bridal store and your customers are brides. What other needs either products or services does a bride have? Those are potential Strategic Business Alliances! Create a list of those customer needs. Book a meeting with some of those businesses, have a coffee or invite them to your location.

How many Strategic Businesses should you have?
How much new business would you like to have? Would you like to have 2 or 3 new business referrals per month or would you like more than that? My personal and business experience has found that 10 – 15 Strategic Business Alliances can dramatically improve your sales and your way of doing business. You may actually have more fun joining forces with several Strategic Business Alliances attending events, putting on joint specials and sharing new business ideas.

How often should you be in contact with your Strategic Business Alliances?
This may vary from season to season or throughout the year, but the general rule of thumb is at least every two weeks. Find a reason to contact your Strategic Business Alliances ask them what you can be looking for and tell them what you are looking for. You might share some great success stories that you’ve recently tried out.

Where and when should you follow up with your Strategic Business Alliances?
If you use an iphone or a calendar to book appointments, book a 5 – 10 minute phone call with each of your Strategic Business Alliances at least every 2 weeks just to keep current and “in touch”. Find a proactive reason to get together at least 4 times per year. You might want to get together with all of your Strategic Business Alliances and create seasonal events together. Just think of the multiplication of offerings, talent and services when you brainstorm together with different businesses.

How do you know you have a successful Strategic Business Alliance?
You will likely know by the balance that you share with your alliances, by that I mean you “give equally” and “get equally” from your Strategic Business Alliance. Here is a tip – you’ll likely increase your getting referrals in direct proportion to the number of referrals you give. When you’re giving a referral is the perfect opportunity for you to tell your Strategic Business Alliance what you are looking for. It’s ok to ask for referrals. Create a win-win and watch the magic happen.

To your Success!
Laurel A. Hillton, MCC, L.S.I., LSC