How to Build Strategic Business Alliances

In this video we lay out how to get referrals by forming some very intentional relationships with other businesses.

Getting referrals from happy customers or clients is great, but also getting referrals from parallel businesses who serve the same market as us is a very powerful way to grow!

Join Melissa as she takes us through the identification and development of these strategic business alliances in your market!

Pro Tip

When you're the one that can provide resources or referrals even when it doesn't directly benefit you, you'll be amazed at how that will eventually boomerang right back to you in the form of referrals for your business!

(Read the Full Transcript Here)

In one of our previous videos we discussed the number one way to get more referrals: don't ask. That video was geared mostly towards customers and clients in gaining their trust and earning referrals from them, but what about other relationships that you have?

What about building strong alliances with other professionals and receiving referrals from them?

Hi, I'm Melissa with, and today we are gonna take a look at how to cultivate strong business alliances that will continually provide referrals and leads that convert. So let's jump right in.

Now you might be wondering, what is a business alliance and why is it important to your business? Well, simply speaking, a business alliance is a strategically targeted relationship that you begin and build to an authentic connection in order to benefit both of the participants. Let me give you an example.

If you are a personal trainer, it would make sense for you to build relationships with nutritionists, chiropractors, maybe a yoga studio, orthopedic surgeons. Now there's an avenue both ways. You can provide value to their clients and they will help support your clients and their goals. Plus, let's face it, anytime you have others out there marketing and advertising your product or service for you, that is a really good feeling and a great way to create more buzz and exposure for what you provide.

Now stick around to the end and I will share how you can create several strategic alliances with people in your network while leveraging your time to help keep your pipeline full.

To make referrals from alliances a part of your process, here is what you need to agree to:

Number one, be willing to open up your network to others that you build relationships with and can trust. Have that mind of abundance.

Number two, have your whole marketing and follow-up plans based on the philosophy of build the relationship first.

Number three, consistently over deliver on what you promise, and...

Number four, be likable, trustworthy, and provide value-add as much as you possibly can. 

So how do you get started? First: look at your current client base and your target audience. Who do they do business with? What other resources do they consistently need? These are businesses that compliment yours, things that your clients might need or want that you don't provide.

For example we have a Speaker League where we work with thought leaders, experts, and authors, or people who wanna market their business through educational marketing. They wanna further their speaking career or they even wanna just get started with one. So we have aligned with a speaking agency, a book publisher, social media designers, and posters, copywriters, editors, graphic designers, so that they can get their sizzle reels, their speaker websites, their speaker pages, all these different things that they need, even an agent working for them, to get them on various platforms.

See all of these businesses refer clients to Speaker League as well. They have clients that need to get more polished. They need to understand how to monetize an educational marketing path.

Next make a list of your current business allies and connections. Who, besides your happy customers, are referring you now? What types of businesses do they have? How can you value-add to their business?

Now once you have these two lists, locate and attend, or even join industry associations, networking groups, chambers that have those types of people and industries in attendance. As an active consistent participant in those circles you will meet people that have already done business with your target audience who can refer you to their customers and clients, plus then you have built all these relationships so that when your customers need the products or services that you don't provide that they provide, you can then give referrals to your new business alliance and to your clients and be the hero for everyone, the go-to person.

Another way to continue to add value to perspective or active business alliances is to intentionally connect people together, not only to perspective clients for them, but also to other professionals, other possible strategic business alliances that all parties can benefit from.

And here's the catch: don't keep score and don't expect anything in return.

I know there are some networking groups and leads groups that require a certain amount of reported referrals within the group or you get kicked out. But look it has been my experience that in order to stay in the group, several members actually give kind of empty or cold referrals and connections just to meet their quota, and nobody likes that and nobody wins.

Have a giver's heart and it will boomerang back around in your favor. Another popular strategy is to consider aligning yourself with companies or individuals that would give you a break on cost to deliver a value-add or a gift to your current customers. This gives your new relationship a sale, albeit at a reduced rate, but allows them to be seen by another person in your network.

For example, if you're a real estate agent, you could give a housewarming gift of a really deep detailed cleaning to a home buyer one month after closing by purchasing a reduced-rate cleaning from a business alliance that you have formed.

See once all the boxes are unpacked, your client would really appreciate that extra deep clean, and then they might even keep that cleaning company on as a regular thing or refer them to someone else.

This is a great way to give a new business relationship that you have built a sale to wow your client for repeat business and referrals. It's a win-win for everyone, and if you consistently engage that cleaning company, I guarantee they will refer you to any homeowner that they hear needs to buy or sell a house.

Above all, be patient.

You must give these alliances time to form, build and become strong. Trust is not gained overnight and it may take longer if they have not actually needed your services or done business with you or your company.

Not everyone needs your service or your product, but that doesn't mean that they won't be a good alliance. It just means it may take a bit longer to receive the referrals, but once you over deliver on one and make your alliance a hero in some else's eyes, the referrals will start rolling in and the buzz will be created within each networking group that you are a part of.

So trust the strategy and truly enjoy building those relationships. Once you have targeted specific people in specific industries, you can form some core strategic alliances. This is when both of you have come to an agreement or understanding that you will cross-promote each other's products and services on a continual and regular basis.

This cross-introduction process should be intentional and well defined. There should be a standard operating procedure based on high-converting practices, such as giving all introductions via an in-person meeting or a detailed email with the person doing the introduction transferring their trust and their confidence to the person receiving the referral, as well as why you think the two of them need to speak.

Again do not have a system of keeping a tally. See after a bit of time all parties involved will determine if it's a mutually beneficial relationship.

So here is the bonus that I promised. This process of identifying, and then locating and building relationships can be very time consuming if you try to meet each individual for like an hour or two. We recommend that instead of doing the traditional let's meet for coffee or lunch, you create a huddle two or three times a month.

What that looks like is this: see, in football, the team before each play does the huddle, well, usually. They usually do a huddle, and all players get together and talk about the next play or two, the objective that they are trying to achieve and how they plan to execute the next steps.

So do that. Gather four to six business alliances together, all at one time. You all get to know each other better, you all get to make the determination of which of those there you are a good fit with, plus you spend one or maybe one and a half hours instead of six to eight hours getting to know each of them individually.

As a bonus all of them get to meet the others in your network. They're gonna love that 'cause they get to connect with people they didn't know. So it's a win for everyone and you are the hero as the organizer.

No matter what you sell, what industry you are in, alliances should be a part of your marketing strategy in today's world. Be sure to subscribe so that you get all of our content when it's released. Check out the video that we did on business networking made easy. In that we listed several great places to go networking and start to build those relationships.

As always, take care of you and take care of your business.