Chefs at a high-end restaurant need excellent ingredients (just like you need excellent clients). So they go to the market to buy what they need. But the market doesn’t always have the quality or quantity of ingredients that they need!
The chef is committed to his craft. He’s not going to compromise and use inferior ingredients. Instead, a forward-looking chef goes upstream and partners with farmers and producers to create ingredients that meet his demands.
You can do the same thing.
If getting better at bringing in prospects isn’t something you relish, then a partner approach might make sense.
Though this kind of partner approach doesn’t require the same type of business development investment, it’s still not easy.
To succeed, a chef needs to find the best farmers to partner with, he needs to work with them to make sure that they understand your requirements, and it can take some time for that farmer’s crops to start producing enough ingredients to meet the needs of his kitchen.
Your partner strategy faces some of the same hurdles.
- Finding a viable partner is a process. You might have some false starts before you find a winner.
- It takes time to develop the relationship to the point where it pays off.
- These kinds of partnerships tend to grow in fruitfulness, the longer they go on.
- To make a partnership last, they need to be rewarding to both sides of the deal.
How does this work?
I’ve seen a lot of successful partnerships between creative firms and software companies. For example, Shopify wants users on their platform; the users need developers; Shopify sends leads to the developer, the developer creates a user for Shopify.
Similarly, consulting firms create a need for change management. Investment banks generate a need for PR. Web design firms make a need for SEO services. The list goes on and on.
To find a partner, look for who is in the room. Who is part of the conversation when your prospect realizes that they need your services? Get close to those folks, and you might find a partner who can bring you work again, and again.
Stay tuned; Thursday I’ll bring you one more approach to finding the clients you need.