Business owners attend networking events because they realize the value of getting to know people. When you get to know people (and they get to know you), they become better able to represent your business when they refer you to others. Well, the same goes with vendors, and probably more so. They work with you on a recurring basis, and know your operations, so why not add your vendors into the virtuous circle, and make them part of your sales team?
Building relationships with your vendors can bring in new customers or clients and expand awareness of your company branding.
The people you work directly with on your products and services are really the ones with the most to gain when you find success. By taking the time to get to know them (and it really is a matter of you being a resource for them, not them helping you), you’ll find a host of opportunities you didn’t realize were there.
Look for great ways to offer your vendors rewards for helping grow your business and everyone wins. One way you can do this is by offering performance-based incentives that are much larger than their normal charges.
Here’s the step-by-step process to putting together a partnership with a vendor:
- Approach all the vendors you work with and offer an incentive-based on performance.
- Put the generous incentive plan together from their perspective, even take suggestions. That way you can craft the offer to be exclusive compensation.
- Develop a clear, concise and easy to track incentive plan. This will increase competition between vendors and raise performance levels.
- Encourage subsequent sales instead of focusing only on the initial sale. By doing this you can give away more of the profit from the initial sale to your vendors and make higher profits off the back-end products. Encourage not just future sells, but upsell better and more profitable products or services, and cross-sell to additional products.
Think of all the vendors you work with and the creative ways you can put together an incentive plan that entices them to be part of your business. Use their talents, capabilities, and connections and you’ll both be winners.
Putting together an incentive plan doesn’t have to be a complicated process. Not sure where to begin? Take a look at our FREE test drive to discover some great ideas and put your incentive plan together for maximum results.
I frequently encourage company owners to build a customer cost formula to determine the cost of partnering with other businesses in order to combine resources and maximize opportunities to reach potential new customers.
But before you begin calculating the cost, you have to understand the point of partnering. Partnering enables you to work with other businesses who share the same customer base to expand the number of customers in your universe.
You can start partnering by asking yourself a couple questions that will help you discover who your target market of potential customers is while not wasting precious resources on blitz marketing. These simple questions are:
• What do people really want to buy from me?
• What related products are they already buying?
Figuring out the answer to this puts you in a position to know who is most predisposed to purchase your products and services. And when you know that, you can decide on a good partner. And once you figure that out, you can come up with an incentive to offer your partner that will create a great arrangement that encourages both of your customer bases to shop for both of your products or services.
This way, you end up with an audience to market to and an added-value from each other’s current customer base.
So, how do you figure this out? There is a great customer cost formula from Jay Abraham you can follow for success. It goes:
LV = (P x F) x N – MC
Here’s what it means:
• LV is the life time value of a customer
• P is the average profit margin from each sale
• F is the number of times a customer buys each year
• N is the number of years customers stay with you
• MC is the marketing cost per customer (total costs/number of customers)
Once you know how much you need to spend to attract a new customer, you will know how much of an incentive you can offer to a partner business to help create an exchange of new business.
So, here’s your step-by-step process:
1. Find companies who already have the customer base you are looking for.
2. Negotiate an incentive for them to share that customer base with you.
3. Focus your marketing resources to this group of predisposed customers.
I have plenty of examples of how this could work.
If you want to learn more about developing this process, check out our FREE test drive for the most comprehensive system of marketing tools and resources.
Today we’ll talk about shameless self-promotion. That’s right, I said it! Shameless! After all, we are learning from Paris Hilton here.
It’s all about self-promotion! Self-promotion comes in many forms and you can use different tactics to get your name out there. Look at politicians! Talk about self-promotion and in some not so discreet ways, at that. But, seriously, consider some of the major superstars we all know. Madonna, Donald Trump, Howard Stern and Bill Clinton, just to name a few.
We all self promote. Did you raise your hand in class to show the teacher you knew the answer? Of course! That’s self-promotion. This is the kind of self-promotion we are talking about. With dignity, class and the knowledge to back it up. If you self-promote only to prove you don’t really know what you’re talking about, you’re going to lose business.
Natural self-promoters are the former and I want to tell you about the three major traits they have and use to build themselves and their businesses.
- The first is position. You need to position yourself around people who can make a difference in your life. You need to do this frequently. You need to wake up every morning and ask yourself “Who can I meet today who will make a difference in my success?” In fact, go a step further, write it in big, bold letters and tape it on your bathroom mirror.
Who can help me meet my goals?
Is it a prospective customer/client? A colleague with contacts? An association with key members who may become prospects?
Don’t settle into interacting with the people who are the easiest to access. You need to reach outside your comfort zone and there you will find a wealth of new connections that will bring you great success.
- Now, let’s talk about Style. No, this doesn’t mean you need an Armani suit to bring in more business (though, let’s be honest-it wouldn’t hurt) J What this really means is how are you different from your competitors and others in your industry. What makes you memorable with customers?
If you are meeting a lot of people and they don’t remember you once you leave the room, you have a serious problem! This means you have an opportunity to present yourself in a more memorable way.
There are lots of little subtle changes you can make. Reassess your:
- Business cards
- Company message
- Your picture
- Your wording
Maybe even, your hairstyle (of course, now we’re back to the expensive suit, but it really works!)
You get the idea. There are lots of little ways you can work on making your image and business more successful. Also, consider how you sound on the phone and how you greet people at meetings or other events. Think about your 30-sec elevator speech.
- The third trait of natural promoters is repetition. You can’t say it once and leave it at that. Successful self-promoters say it as many times as they need until they get a response. Would you remember a commercial for Coca-Cola if you only saw it once, no! You see it over and over and eventually you head out to the store.
You, also, have to make multiple impressions on those you are networking with in order to build brand awareness. Repetition is in direct connection with positioning. Once you find people to network with, reach out and find hundreds more who can help in your success as well.