How A Partnership Can Work Well
Collaborating makes sense
As you probably already know getting new business is hard.
That's not because you haven't got a good product or service but because it's hard to get to speak with the right people.
They're busy, get too much information anyway, are happy with what they have or don't think there's any benefit in changing things.
Often, however, there is.
What we're trying to do is offer your client base services that complement your core offering.
For example, if your core business is providing accounting and bookkeeping services your clients will also benefit from management consulting services - such as process improvement, spreadsheet design, IT recommendations and sales and marketing advice.
But they go to the market and look for different professionals to help with each of these.
What will happen if you were to email your clients and let them know that you were adding these services to your portfolio and were available to advise them if they needed any support?
Or if you were to say to them that you were partnering with someone who could do these things and if they were interested in being introduced to them.
The thing that stops us is the risk
You probably wouldn't want to do that - after all it's taken you time to get these clients and you would be very wary of anything that could affect your relationship with them.
At the same time, they are being approached by others all the time and being seen as a trusted advisor who is giving more support than anyone else is going to help you keep them inspite of the competition out there.
So the biggest thing you need to do is make sure there is absolutely nothing that happens that reflects poorly on you or that gives your client a bad experience.
You need to eliminate all risk for the client
So, here's the approach we take. We don't want to make anything on the first time we work with a client.
That is simply an opportunity for us to show what we can do.
If, for any reason, your client is not totally satisfied with what we do they don't have to pay a penny.
And before we start any work with them we'll do a dry run of our consulting approach with you.
We'll take you through the systems modelling approach we use to understand what matters to them in detail and come up with a useful project that is worth doing.
Then, only if they are completely happy, we'll put in a proposal to go ahead.
What's the benefit to you?
For example, let's say you have a client that uses spreadsheets a lot and could do with some help streamlining them and making them easier to use.
Quite often, a well designed spreadsheet can reduce the time it takes to do a job from days to minutes.
Let's say that the first project is worth around £1,000.
For the next 60 days (starting 1 January 2019) any partner who refers business to us will get to keep 100% of that first project income.
Our job is to delight the customer with our work and win future business based on our performance.
We're willing to do the first job at break-even or a loss to show what we can do.
So, your client gets to benefit from an improvement in their business, you get all the income and we get the opportunity for future work with that client.
What happens next?
If we do a good job and are asked to do more for that client then we'll give you 20% of anything we bill for the next three years.
At the same time we'll be looking at our network to see if there are people we can refer to you.
For those that join us in the next 60 days, we won't ask for anything but recommend that you give our clients the 10-20% discount you might have offered as a commission to your sales people.
So, to quickly summarise this, you get 100% of the first sale, 20% of ongoing sales for three years and 100% of any sales we refer to you.
Typically, if we do a £1,000 initial piece of work, followed by £30,000 over three years you'll get £7,000 for sending an email or making a phone call.
So, how does it work exactly?
The process starts with a marketing campaign that is designed to work around you.
For example, once we get an idea of your client base and the kinds of services they will benefit from we'll put together a simple marketing communications plan.
This could be as straightforward as a mail-merge email or a targeted reach out on social media.
When you have some interest and can introduce us to prospects we'll set up an initial discussion to explore their requirements and come up with a project scope.
From that point it's up to us to deliver what we've promised to the client and keep you informed about progress and what to invoice and when.
Why take this approach?
It's early days for our business and we think that the best way to succeed is to deliver quality service - so we're more interested in the opportunity to demonstrate what we do than simply making a buck.
It's important to us that we work with people that share our values but have complementary capabilities.
People that put their clients first and want to do the best for them.
We want to show that everything we do adds measurable value to businesses - and we see that happening in one of two ways:
- We can help you market better.
- We can help you innovate and become more productive.
Our focus is on delivering work that does these two things.
This is why, for example, we use plain, direct language on this website.
We want to explain why and how we think this is a good approach, why you should consider working with us and how your clients will benefit from our joint working relationship.
If you have any questions about how any of this will work please email email@example.com
There's a company called Morningstar that makes tomato products. It's a company with no job roles, no titles, no hierarchy where people work together by agreeing what each will do - using something they call a "Letter of Understanding".
This is not legalese - more a statement that sets out what "good looks like" when we work together.
We're putting one of these together and will publish it shortly but in the meantime if you'd then like to work with us just let us know and we'll get started on the next step - understanding your client base and the best way to add value to them.
Drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org