You have probably heard the saying, “It’s who you know” In business. And it’s usually true.
That doesn’t mean that your skills and experience don’t have any merit – actually nothing could be farther from the truth.
But to get clients who you know also plays into things – sometimes in a very large way.
Think of trying to sell lemonade at the end of your driveway.
If you set up your stand and wait for people to come by, you will probably make a sale eventually.
If you tell everyone in your family that you are selling lemonade, you will probably make a few more sales.
Basically the more people you tell, the higher your sales will be. But it takes you longer to spread the word yourself, so the more help you can get, the better.
That’s what we call forming an alliance with someone else. Strategic alliances, to be exact.
It’s like anything in business – having other people spread the word for you can really help to build your business.
I had a conversation with someone just last night about selling the skills and services of other people being easier than selling your own.
Think about people you have referred before. Maybe it was a hairdresser, or a restaurant, or a business coach. Consider the words and the enthusiasm with which you described them. You would shout from the rooftops so everyone could hear you – if it was about someone else.
But when we try to sell ourselves, it doesn’t come across the same way (sometimes it does, but not the way we sell others).
That’s why strategic alliances are so important in your business. And why you should be a good strategic alliance for someone else too!
First, your business will reach a larger audience simply by having others talk about it.
Second, you will learn to appreciate your own value when others consistently tell you how great you are at what you do.
Third, you will also be able to help someone else grow their business by doing the same for them.
Now of course, you can’t recommend everyone you know to everyone you meet!
A strategic alliance is an intentional partner in your business.
Maybe you serve the same market but you don’t provide the same services.
Maybe you network in the same circles so you are both building a similar audience.
Maybe your services piggy-back on someone else’s services (i.e., a graphic designer/web designer) so you could move a client along to them when you are finished your work together.
There are many scenarios as to how you can fit a strategic partner into your business.
I encourage you to explore who is in your network that could be helpful to you, and who you can be helpful to.
Start to talk each other up at events – share each other’s blog posts and social media. Get to know about how they serve their clients, and tell them about how you serve yours.
The key is to start to creating a buzz about each other. It truly makes networking and marketing easier, and, dare I say, more fun!?
Networking is about relationship building but it is not limited to just people who will be your clients.
In fact, your alliances could become some of your biggest business influences (and you can do the same for them!).
And when you find a few great alliances, you also form a bond and a camaraderie that you are not out there on your own anymore. It is a wonderfully successful kind of feeling.
I always say the best way to get a referral is to give one first. So find a few alliances of your own and try it. You will not be disappointed!
Tracey D’Aviero is a veteran VA and Founder of Your VA Mentor. Tracey trains and mentors professional women and men who are brand new to the VA industry or who have been struggling to make their business successful. Her mission is to educate professionals on how to build and grow successful and profitable virtual businesses in the VA industry by implementing systems and smart principles. Contact Tracey for speaking engagements, group training or private coaching at www.yourvamentor.com.