Strategic Partnerships (Part One of a Three Part Series)
Improving the Profitability of Your Professional Alliances
If you think this is another article on networking, think again. Networking is a tired term conjuring images of business luncheons and industry conferences where attendees weave in and out of conversations, exchanging business cards as they go. Strategic partnering, however, is a new breed of networking that’s more powerful and focused than anything you may have tried before.WHAT is a strategic partnership?Also called “natural business relationships,” strategic partners are business professionals who share your target market but do not offer competitive services. They are individuals with whom you can share ideas, advice, and yes, referrals. But more than that they literally become a work force that buoys your business, enabling you to labor more efficiently and enjoy great profitability.One obvious choice for a strategic partner for an accountant is a payroll service. Our firm, like many others, will not do payroll; it’s too demanding, and its margins are low. Because of that we refer our clients to a local payroll service provider. In doing so we establish a strategic partnership wherein the payroll service is also willing to refer their clients to us. They have hundreds of clients and are constantly seeking new companies to work with, to the tune of 3-4 new clients per week per sales rep. In order to tap into their client base we provide a free one-day accounting seminar for their existing and prospective clients. They promote it as a special benefit for enlisting their services, and we secure the opportunity to promote our accounting services to them. It’s a win-win opportunity.WHO makes a good strategic partner?Strategic partnerships are scalable, meaning that depending on the size of your practice, you must pick professionals who are compatible with your business size and type. Occupations that correspond well with accounting include loan officers, checking representatives, financial planners, insurance representatives, lawyers, etc. If you were the CEO of a large accounting firm then you would try to connect with leaders of organizations that complement your business’s size and prestige. If you are a contract accountant with a handful of clients then you would look to other small business owners or employees of like organizations.In order to be successful, these strategic partnerships must be symbiotic, meaning they are beneficial to both parties. Before approaching a potential partner ask yourself the following three questions:
- What will they get from the relationship?
- What will you get from the relationship?
- Are they the type of individual who will provide referrals?
There is no use wasting your time on individuals who are not interested in participating in this type of relationship. While it does not require an abundance of time and energy, it does involve the commitment to meet regularly and help one another. These questions will enable you to screen those who may not be ready for this type of collaborative effort.
What will they get from the relationship?We have heard many accountants complain that some markets are unbreakable; a close-knit group of professionals already exists in their community and they refuse to open their circle to a rookie. Having something valuable to contribute can be the secret to gaining entry to these elite groups. When you can provide their clients with something valuable that will reflect positively back on them they will be more likely to not only refer their clients, but provide you with ringing endorsements.Before meeting with potential partners you must know beforehand what you can offer them. Consider introductory services you could provide their clients at no cost: QuickBooks seminars, tax consultations, or business assessments. All of these would benefit their clients while exposing them to your professional expertise.What will you get from the relationship?You should know, specifically, what you are looking for in return. Do you just want a list of referrals or would you prefer a glowing, personal endorsement from the potential partner? Consider the level of commitment you are looking for before making any arrangements. Be willing to press the potential partner for their contribution to this relationship and walk away if it doesn’t prove beneficial; only when both are willing to give will the strategic partnership work as intended.Are they the type of individual who will provide referrals? Business professionals come in all shapes and sizes. There are some who would find a strategic partnership to be an amazing opportunity while others might appear enthusiastic and not follow through. We suggest that if you haven’t received any referrals after 90 days you move on to another potential partner.
Return next week when we will talk about WHEN, WHERE, WHY, and HOW you can go about building these strategic partnerships.
Universal Accounting Center Can Help You Promote Your Practice
Building strategic partnerships is one way to grow your business by increasing your clientele with referrals. In fact this is something we teach you about in our Universal Practice Builder Program, designed to train you how to promote your accounting practice. In fact, for over 25 years we’ve taught professionals like you how to grow their businesses and market their services to those who need them most. Come learn more about our Universal Practice Builder Program – what we like to call Marketing on Steroids. Here’s just a sampling of what you will gain from enrolling in this phenomenal program:A guarantee of $30,000 in new annualized billings in only 12 months
- 12 marketing strategies that you can implement immediately
- A process which can produce 15 to 25 qualified leads per month
- 3 months of coaching via telephone and Internet
- Training on a computerized database tracking program
- A presentation DVD to show potential clients
Sound interesting? We’re confident that you’ll find it more than just interesting but profitable as well.Whether your business is new, seasoned, or just a dream in your head, the Universal Practice Builder Program can help. And if you enroll now, you will also get Financing a Small Business, a 126-page manual packed with clear-cut instructions and terrific resource materials that will make creating a loan application package easy. It even includes a sample loan package that you can use as a model. This book is a must-read for business owners interested in financing options, or accountants that will be in a position to give financial advice.If your business isn’t growing, it’s either idling or dwindling. Take advantage of this amazing package deal to ensure it’s on the path to profitability. It won’t be long before you and your family start reaping the benefits. Order today!