No matter how proudly you embrace the “solopreneur” title, there comes a time when you absolutely must reach out for help. And for savvy business owners, that help often comes in the form of JV partners.
Also called affiliates, JV partners act as your own private sales army, spreading the word about your products and services to a whole new audience—theirs. Not only do you reach people who might otherwise never encounter you, but you also benefit mightily from your JV partners’ existing relationships. By promoting you, an affiliate is endorsing you to her audience. She’s saying, “I know this seller; I trust her, and you should, too.”
But even with all those many benefits, coaches and product sellers sometimes struggle to find great partners. Sure, lots of people will register for your affiliate program, but the Pareto Principle is alive and well when it comes to JV partners: 20% of your affiliates will do 80% of the work. That means your goal is to recruit higher performing partners.
The only question is, where do you find these great partners?
Pick Your VA’s Brain
Chances are good that your VA works for other business owners in similar niches. If you’re a business coach, she very likely works with several other coaches, and she’s in a position to know…
• Where her clients are in the business development cycle (ideally you want established partners, not newbies)
• Their audience demographics (so she’ll know if they’re a good fit or not)
• Their willingness to promote (some people simply don’t do JV partnership, so it’s a waste of time to approach them)
Look to Your Best Clients
Especially if you’re a business coach, your clients might just be your biggest fans—and they’re in a position to recommend you to friends, family, social connections, and elsewhere.
Be sure your clients all know that you offer a referral/affiliate program, how to sign up, and what the benefits are.
It’s true—your competitors might just be your biggest affiliates, if you give them a chance.
In some circles (such as business and relationship coaching) clients tend to “graduate” from one coach and move to another. This is normal and to be expected. And when you’re on good terms with your competitors, the coach their ex-clients move to might just be you.
Don’t be afraid to look in unusual places for your next JV partner. You really never know who can connect you with potential clients and partners. Think about all your relationships—from your team to your social circles to your competitors and colleagues—and consider all of their relationships and how far that might stretch. Then pick up the phone or draft an email and start leveraging your contacts!