Saturday, April 20, 2013

2 Key Questions to Answer When Approaching Someone about a Partnership

Every once in a while, I get approached about someone starting a partnership with me.  Most of the time, I am not very excited.

That got me thinking.  What WOULD get me excited about a potential partnership?

Key Question #1: How will you make me more money?

Many people seem to approach me as "partners," but they simply are looking for ways to get me to give them work (in exchange for payment).  They are not truly looking to add any value to me or my company.  They simply want me to be a paying customer.

I might get someone who mentions something, like see how much better he/she from the the other company can make something much better than me (my company).  Honestly, in many cases, they are absolutely right.  They can make websites better than me, videos more engaging than me, or whatever else better than me.

However, in these cases, I have one (1) question for them.

By paying you to make the quality of what I offer better, how much more in sales (and profit) can I generate?

If I can pay you $100, and your enhancement allows me to charge $300 more to a market that is eager to pay it, then I will gladly pay you that $100.

Otherwise, I am not interested in paying you $100 to make my product too expensive to sell (because your "improvement" adds less than $100 in perceived value).  I don't care how much "better" you will make my product.  You aren't making my business any better or more competitive!

Key Question #2: How will you make my life easier?

Like anyone else, I can be lazy.  In fact, I PREFER to be lazy...IF I can be lazy WITHOUT it being at the expense of what my customers receive.

If I pay you to do something for me, will it free my time to do other things to make my company more valuable (or simply for myself)?

If the answer is, "Yes," I might be interested in your proposal.

However, I've noticed that often, I have to spend MORE time working with someone to do something I can complete myself...AND I have to pay that person to "do it" for me.

Either, you need to be better at me at doing something, or you need to REDUCE the time I need to spend to make sure the assignment or project is completed to the level my customers expect from "me."

Maybe I can get something for a little cheaper price somewhere else, but if you can "take care of it" for me without me having to spend any more time or effort on it, you probably have my business.

If the project is big enough, then I realize that I will (probably) have to spend time training you.  That's okay, if you work toward allowing me to spend less time with you and the work eventually.

If it's clear that (a) you're going to make my life easier, and (b) I can afford you, I will probably hire you or your company...or even allow you to partner with me.

I'm pretty sure that most business owners will agree with me about being able to answer BOTH of these questions.

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