We all know the value of developing profitable and ongoing strategic alliances with other professionals, such as solicitors and accountants. But how many of us do it well? I've done a lot of research into this market and would like to share with you what I see as a sensible approach for success. For me it's all about behaviours, and one of the key behaviours is to adopt a consultative approach.
Many professions are excellent at fact-finding and analysis with clients, but this key skill seems to be abandoned when developing strategic alliances. We try and sell when the key is to consult and listen. At the initial meeting set yourself an objective to talk about their business and to find out how you can add value to them. To adopt a consultative approach needs a process. Here are nine steps you can adopt today.
Step 9 - making contact
You might think this is all well and good but how do I actually make initial contact in the first place? Working with business professionals is largely about building relationships and trusts. I’d like to give you two ideas to begin approaching potential business contacts.
Think about your strengths
If you have not already done this, allocate time to put thought into defining your business proposition, as you need to clear about what you can offer a potential alliance.
One thing to consider are our strengths in terms of knowledge? Many business people specialise in their area of expertise and seek alliances to shore up gaps and work with others who are experts in their field. How can you demonstrate you are such an expert?
It is also important to research the firms you are looking at – what do they specialise in, and how will your offering fit. This will ensure you’re compatible.
Don’t ignore your local knowledge
There is no substitute for local knowledge and your existing contacts. You’re a member of your local community and as such a member of your local business community. Some ways of establishing contact in local communities can be seen as old hat but they do work. You may already be a member but how well to you leverage your membership of:
It is well worth considering how you can join these and discuss how your business can help them.
You should also consider any local seminars or events with topics that are likely to be of joint interest. I would urge you to run your own and we will look at that next week.
Panacea and Glassagh Consulting have now put together a free guide to help you maximise Strategic Alliances, why don’t you download your copy now?
John Joe McGinley
Glassagh Consulting August 2016
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