(This article by Gil Zeimer is reprinted from Sparksâ„¢ Newsletter, April, 2008)
Strategic Alliances. Virtual Partnerships. Power Teams.
Whatever you call them, having a network of trusted allies is a critical component for any company’s long-term marketing success. And if you’re a small company, networking is absolutely essential for survival in troubled times like these.
Don’t Rely on The Kindness of Strangers.
Fortunately, I haven’t had to rely on the kindness of strangers to refer clients my way. After all, people you haven’t worked with before may have heard of you. But they certainly don’t know your strengths, your history or even your track record of deliverables.
Instead, over the past 25 years, I’mve relied on the cumulative strength of marketing through power teams to:
- Grow my advertising copywriting and consulting business
- Land bigger clients than I could have on my own
- Enhance my company’s visibility
- Help me solve extremely complex marketing problems through creative collaboration
- Enable me to present a virtual team to clients large and small who need the reassurance that I’m not a one-man band
- And create a pipeline for referrals for both myself and my network of senior level sales, business, design, Web, and direct marketing consultants
Join a Pack and Start a Power Team.
So if you’re tired of being a lone wolf, it’s time to join a pack. Start networking. Join a Business Network International chapter. Attend a B2B Power Exchange meeting in a city near you. Mix it up with people in your industry at a mixer lunch or dinner. Create a power team with complimentary business associates, as I’mve done with Erik and Rebecca at Your Marketing Lab.
What’s The First Step?
If you’re a bit shy and introverted, networking isn’t for everyone. But you can take the first step (and don’t worry, there aren’t 11 more) by asking an associate to join you for lunch or coffee to kick around a few ways you can help each other.
Think of ways you can work together – by referring possible clients or by contacting potential clients. Brainstorm about whom else you can ask to join your power team of like-minded consultants.
Then, schedule periodic follow-up meetings – try to do these in person rather than by phone or email. I’mve found that personal, face-to-face contact with the personal dimension is so much more effective in today’s world of email, texting, and voice messaging with phone tag.
How Much Can You Earn Through Power Teams?
By now you’re asking, what’s the bottom line? For me, one power team of a graphic designer, Web designer and printer through my BNI chapter is responsible for nearly 50% of my earnings annually. I also get referrals from a handful of other alliances. The total is approximately 90% of my gross revenues from networking.
Not bad for a few phone calls and lunches a week. Not bad at all.
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