Partners look out for each other. Partners ooze win-win. Partners share responsibility and rewards.
Does that sound like a bunch of schmooze? It might. However, think about the people you most appreciate dealing with. One reason you appreciate them is they appreciate you. Am I wrong? (If so, please comment below and straighten me out.)
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 says:
Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up. Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.
Clearly, partners create advantages.
Four steps to increasing your partnerships:
- Make a list of your target companies or individuals. Who can benefit from what you would like to do. What’s your best service? Who is your ideal vendor or customer? Who would you most like to have as a fan or a referral? Many vendors will freak out if you approach them. See this post for more thoughts.
- Research your targets. Get to know them. Who are their customers, competitors, vendors? What is their strategic plan. Many times, you can find out key information just by asking.
- Figure out a way to reduce or eliminate their risk. Can you create a no-cost way to hook a client? What if you just gave them something for nothing? If you are working on a partnership with a vendor, make your partnership request part of your next purchase.
- Make your contribution first. Find someone who is a potential partner, someone who you feel you could help out and help them out. Can you use their product? Can you find them a customer or plug them at a conference or on the web? If you wait for the other person to make the first move, it will probably never happen. Worse, they might make the first move with your competitor.
Increase your partners and increase your business. Find ways to strategically deliver value to a few friends and strengthen your advantage. Like the author of Ecclesiastes says: if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.