There are tons of powerful methods you can utilize to grow your business. Referrals, social media, paid marketing, public speaking… the list goes on and on.
One of the most misunderstood methods is leveraging strategic relationships or joint ventures to grow your business.
Most of the time, these relationships are structured to be all take and no give. There really isn’t anything strategic about them, it’s just a “one and done” promo or ineffective trading of services.
Sure, it’s great to get free haircuts or massages, but if you have a strategic plan to get more clients from these relationships, you can pay for all the haircuts and massages you want with the money you’ll be making.
Sound interesting to you?
If so, today’s your lucky day because we’re going to cover a simple 5-step plan to getting more clients, building up your expertise, and leveraging your relationships with other businesses.
Put this plan to action, and you’ll have instant access, credibility, and hundreds if not thousands of new prospects in no time!
Step 1: Establish Your Marketing Foundations
Before you get started implementing marketing methods, even one as powerful as strategic relationships, you have to establish your marketing foundations.
If you don’t, your efforts will be minimized, and it’s more of a crapshoot than a marketing strategy. You’re simply hoping it works—and that’s no way to run your business.
There are 3 parts to your marketing foundation:
- The What
- The Who
- The Why
The What is your core offer. This is the program that you intend to or are building your business around. It might be personal training, group training, or somewhere in between. This is usually pretty simple because you’ve already got it in place.
Run a quick check though to make sure it’s what your clients are really looking for, it’s the best way to get them the results they want, and you can scale it as you grow.
The Who is your Ideal Client. You’re going to need to create a profile or persona for your Ideal Client. This isn’t the same as your favorite client; rather, this is a fictional character who has all the traits and qualities of the person you want to build your business around.
This is a critical step to building your marketing foundation because it helps you frame your marketing message and you’ll better understand how to find strategic relationships that will be valuable to you and the business in which you partner.
To fast track this, think about the solution your clients want, how they want to feel after, and where they spend their time and money.
The Why is a short list of differentiators and your positioning statement that tells prospective clients why they should choose you over your competition. The key to making these powerful is knowing your WHO so you can speak directly to them.
A list of differentiators that doesn’t speak to your Ideal Client is worthless.
So make a quick list of why someone would choose you over your competition. You don’t have to make each and every one of the points unique, but together, they should make your business stand out.
Use any data or unique processes that you have in your business to help.
Here are some examples:
- Our clients lose an average of 15lbs in the first 60 days
- 24,000 lbs lost (and kept off) in our programs
- 30-minute express workouts for the busy person
- 75 D-1 Athletes have been in our program
- 3 consecutive Best Of [CITY] awards
With these 3 areas defined, you can start working to find powerful strategic relationships.
Step 2: Create Your List of Influencers
Now that you know where your Ideal Clients are and how to communicate with them (The WHO and The WHY), you can start creating a list of influencers in the community.
This list should include non-competing businesses or business owners who serve a similar market as you.
Ask yourself this question: Who do I need to convince?
These are the people who will influence whether you are able to work with the other business or if you get rejected.
Always look for the highest-level influencer in the business. There are times where that might be the owner and others where that might be the store manager.
Now that you know your target, it’s time to refine your message and utilize your differentiators.
You should create a slightly unique message for each strategic relationship you are hoping to develop. It needs to be specific to the business or the person but utilize your differentiators.
Clearly Define Your Goal
- Make sure you know what the purpose of your message is going to be.
- Do you need to convince the person you are a good fit to work with them or that it will be valuable to them?
- Are you trying to change someone’s opinion of working with a fitness business?
- Do you simply need them to understand more about what you do and how you do it?
Know Your Audience
- How aware is the person of your business or the idea of working with partners?
- Do they understand what you do?
- Do you need to educate them on why it’s valuable?
- Do they have a strong opinion of which fitness program is best already?
- Where can you find them or get their attention?
Create Your Message
Don’t try and use logic as your message; play on emotions.
Create a message that moves you closer to your initial goal, make it engaging, use stories and metaphors, and frame facts in a story.
Deliver Your Message
It’s game time! You have done all your homework, and now it’s time to deliver your message and start creating some relationships.
Figure out the best way to deliver the message (in person, by phone, or by email) and how to present it to the individual.
You may need to work to set up a meeting in person outside of both businesses, or it might be best to pitch your idea via email.
This is where you let your people skills and strengths shine! If you are a great writer, prepare a report to deliver; if you are a great speaker, prepare a presentation; and if you network well, make sure you get one-on-one time with this person.
Your goal here is to get the influencer to adopt your idea and start setting things in motion.
It’s time to get to work! Now that you’ve established a strategic relationship, it’s time to make it work for both businesses.
The best experiences for both businesses usually require that you do most of the work. You were the one who proposed the idea, so don’t expect the partner business to do a lot of the work for you.
This is where most people go wrong. They set up a relationship and then fail to follow up and ensure that the plan is working.
To get things started, you should do as much as possible to get the partner business to help you create a platform to deliver your knowledge and provide value to their customers.
Here are a few ideas:
- Deliver a weekly or biweekly newsletter to their clients. This can be in print or email covering things important and relevant to them.
- Host a free seminar or workshop onsite for their employees and customers at their place of business.
- Train their staff on what you do and why it’s a good fit for their clients.
- Present exclusive offers for specific promotions to customers of the partner business.
Very rarely does a strategic partner business simply refer you clients. They have their own business to worry about, so make sure you are creating your own opportunities to get in front of their customers.
It’s also important to note that you need to reciprocate the favors and present this business in different ways to your customers.
Here are some ideas for promoting your partner businesses:
- Deliver a weekly or monthly partner email to your list highlighting your partner businesses.
- Deliver exclusive offers to your new customers or VIP customers for the partner business.
- Allow the partner business to sponsor your challenges or contests by putting their logo on your marketing materials and website.
- Do frequent cross-promotional or co-selling offers where you combine a service you have with an offering from the partner business.
The sky is the limit with ideas, but you need to be proactive, nurture the relationship, and be able to provide proof that you are sending people to them and that you are getting value out of your work.
Create a Network of Influencers
After you’ve mastered a few strategic relationships, you can create a powerful referral network by bringing the influencers of each of the businesses together for regular meetings.
Not only will you have a group of people serving a similar market, but you will add value to those businesses by connecting them with other like-minded influencers.
You’ll look like a superstar!
This group of influencers can now help each other brainstorm ideas and share what’s working, and they will be a powerful asset to you and your business as you continue to grow.
It’s important that you have some structure for this group including rules and guidelines for being a member. You don’t want this potentially valuable time turned into time perceived by the influencers as wasted.
You’ll be surprised how quickly you can build up a team of influencers who want to help each other grow their businesses.
It’s like your very own BNI without the fees and all the useless self-promotion.
If you follow these 5 simple steps to creating strategic relationships, you’ll be able to quickly position yourself and your business as local experts and fill your business with more of your Ideal Clients.
And if you haven’t enrolled in the Fitness Marketing Domination course yet, here’s your chance:
Not only will you learn how to get more clients, but you’re going to discover how to find more of your ideal client so that you can start building your business around the clients you want to train and that you help get the best results.
Once you enroll, you’ll discover…
- How to ensure the program you’re offering is the best program for your business and it can be the foundation for the business you want
- The secrets to getting inside the head and understanding your ideal client so that it’s easier to get their attention
- The things that set your business apart and how to communicate them to your leads so that you render your competition powerless
- How to find more of your ideal clients so you can stop chasing people that aren’t a good fit for you and you can focus your marketing efforts
- The 7-steps that MUST be in your marketing funnel if you want more leads and higher conversion rates
- A strategy that will work for any training business and stand the test of time
- And much more…
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