I saw this article on Power Teams by Lorraine and it resonated with me in regard to relational business development. This is more than just having a group of “bread-and-butter” clients. I have been on the receiving end of that type of relationship and it is not relational–it is convenient. I do not want a convenient client nor do I want to be one. I want to help clients succeed and want to attract clients that reciprocate. All that said, enjoy Lorraine’s article below.
-Eric-

By Lorraine Ball | Roundpeg

Not too long ago, I met with a friend who had just started a new job as a salesman. In the course of the conversation, he told me his new boss wanted him to make 100 cold calls a week. I didn’t know what to say. I don’t think I have made that many cold calls in my entire career!

He continued to talk about the calls, and how his boss believed if made the 100 calls he would be able to have about twenty viable conversations, set five appointments and make one sale. He asked me if this sounded reasonable. I didn’t know what to tell him, because I don’t make cold calls.

After five years of actively networking in the local community, my business is referral–driven. When I need to increase my sales volume, I make calls, but not cold calls. I make warm calls to my Power Team.

My Power Team consists of other business professionals offering complementary services to my target customers. I schedule one–on–one conversations over coffee and lunch. And without directly soliciting a referral, things happen! As we talk about projects and customers, opportunities arise.

To survive and thrive, without cold calls, I told my friend, you need a Power Team.

How do you build your own Power Team?
Start with your customer. Regardless of whether your product or service is for an individual or a business, your target customer has needs beyond what you can provide. Think about other products and services your customers could or would purchase on a regular basis. For example if you are an electrician, a plumber, roofer, carpet cleaning company and landscape company would all be potential Power Team members.

As you attend networking events, be on the look out for great Power Team members. While customers are always nice, a great Power Team member will create more opportunities for you in the long run!

Be Selective.
It takes time to build an effective partnership, one which brings value to both parties involved. Don’t rush the process. The closer you work with this strategic partner, the more your image and theirs become entwined together in the mind of potential clients.

Carefully evaluate potential partners; select companies which will treat your clients the way you do. Build relationships with companies you will be proud to send your best customer to.

Power Teams Require Work.
Effective Power Team members touch base regularly. Phone calls, emails and the occasional face to face insure you are always top of mind for each other, sharing information on projects, great networking events, and business connections. To make this type of marketing work, you must be willing to create opportunities for your partners if you want them to create opportunities for you!

Building a Power Team Has Benefits!
In addition to creating a great source of referrals, the right strategic partnerships may lead to cross–promotion opportunities, ideas for new services, or joint promotions as a way to generate business for both companies. In other cases, the partnership may allow you to share advertising expenses, such as trade booths or direct mail cost.

If you’ve picked the right team members, over time they will become an integral part of your business success! And you will never need to make cold calls again.

Lorraine Ball is an accomplished marketing professional and founder of Roundpeg, a national firm to help small business owners build awareness, connect with new customers, and close sales. Her articles on marketing planning and business development have been featured in Contracting Business, The New York Forum, The Indianapolis Business Journal, and The ACH&R News.