One of the most exciting things that we do at Laughlin is to partner with great companies. The goal of these partnerships is typically to introduce each partner’s client base to the other’s in such a way that significant numbers of new leads are being driven to one another. This kind of arrangement helps the clients gain exposure to products from vetted providers and lets each partner gain access to new prospects (hopefully at a lower cost per contact).

Laughlin Associates has recently engaged in affinity partnerships with Roni Deutch Tax Centers and with sales and motivational legend, Brian Tracy. In both cases there have been appropriate efforts made to begin building bridges between our unique client bases and in trying to promote one another’s product lines. In every partnership we enter in to there is apparent synergy. Surprisingly, in many cases, there are also significant challenges to get the ball rolling. This is an interesting phenomenon.

At Laughlin, we have a large, qualified and loyal customer base. These individuals have, for the most part, been with us for years and, we think, have a high level of trust in us. We have been approached many times by organizations anxious to get a few minutes in front of this valuable group of business owners. When that chance has been afforded, however, my wonderful and intelligent clients sometimes exhibit a lack-luster response.

Recently, with the success of our business development efforts, we have found ourselves in front of new, business owner prospects. When we get the chance to talk about what we do, there can be the same slow-moving reaction to our message as we have seen from our clients towards our partners. To be fair, we have had some wonderful experiences with partners where experience exceeded expectations. But many times, getting to those results is a protracted process. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Give it time – a new group of prospective clients will take time to understand your message and to trust your products. There’s a confidence curve.
  2. Educate – remember that you are new to this group.  Give them the education they need to make a decision.
  3. Keep cross-promoting – If your partner’s product will truly help your client base, then your efforts will not only be rewarded by a more satisfied customer, but your partnership will become stronger; hopefully resulting in increased leads and sales.

I wonder if anyone out there has stories of what has worked best for you to shorten what I believe is a confidence curve. Do you have ideas of what might help us all as we pursue partnerships in which we can leverage compatible databases in order to build new client relationships? Let me know and I will report back on any attempts we make to implement your ideas. Thanks in advance for your help. – AY