When Linda Rink and I started this joint newsletter I began to look at everything differently.
Initially, I collaborated with Linda because I knew it would be much easier to launch an e-newsletter with someone else rather than starting one myself.
What I failed to foresee is that I was in fact doubling my exposure, and so was Linda! And we’ve both benefited directly from this increased exposure.
Now, I see collaboration opportunities every day — some in action; others overlooked.
This newsletter is devoted to sharing collaboration tips that can produce sales.
1. If you have an opportunity to create a joint newsletter with someone in a complementary business, DO IT!!! You gain increased exposure among an entirely new pool of readers who are probably interested in hearing complementary views–and you’re networking with someone who doesn’t compete with you!
2. Create an informal network of like-minded individuals in your field — those who do not compete directly with you but whose services are similar — and meet frequently. It doesn’t matter if you are not referring business regularly in the beginning. You’ll see that over time, as you begin to trust one another and learn each others businesses, the referrals will fly.
3. Identify business projects where you can “bring in” a referral partner whom you respect. In an intense side-by-side working environment, you will connect in a way you would otherwise never do. If your working relationship is positive, you will want to continue seeking joint business assignments –thus increasing new opportunities from your partners’ selling activities, and vice versa.
4. Wherever possible, create publicity with a business partner — not just on your own. The article will be more interesting for the editor to print, and you can broaden the distribution especially if the business partner works or lives outside the area covered by your own publications.
5. Create “virtual networks” of individuals and businesses who serve your market and can refer you. For example, if you are a prospecting firm (as VSA is), get to know many direct mail advertising agencies who need telephone follow-up on their mail pieces. This way, your “network” can identify the need for your service and recommend you before you even realize that someone is promoting you! There’s benefit for your referral partners, too. First, your work will enhance their overall results and second, you will return referrals to continue the referral relationship.
6. Create speaking engagements with multiple complementary professionals. You can draw upon your own and others’ contact bases to create larger audiences. Your participants will hear a powerful range of connected topics.
7. Identify a business who does the same thing you do in a different geographic area and identify similar needs in your marketing campaigns. You can probably share the costs of designing brochures, implementing calling campaigns, and developing direct mail programs. Much of the upfront preparation work will be identical and can be shared between you. Your incremental costs will be the adjustments required to personalize your programs, but you will not be starting from scratch.
Every day now, I see opportunities for clients or colleagues to collaborate more effectively. I applaud the VSA clients who have decided to implement “joint” campaigns where our mailing and calling efforts promote complementary services to a broad audience. Likewise, I respect VSA clients’ decisions who have asked us to identify and connect them to referral sources.
But, there’s so much business left on the table especially by those who are not partnering on newsletters, who do not piggy-back on each others’ marketing, calling and design programs and who do not promote combined speaking engagements. I hope this article has spurred some creative thinking on your part. I know certainly my venture with Linda has done so for me.