The other day I was asked: “How do I motivate a potential joint venture partner to bite? When you have a great idea and you've located the perfect partner, how do you motivate them to do business with you?”
I talked on many occasions about the power of a USP and how to define one. Being unique, or having an interesting twist or hook, will definitely up your chances of getting noticed.
But regardless of how you approach your prospective partner, before you do it is important to craft the offer in a manner that shows the benefits to your joint-venture partner.
Here are a few extra tricks to motivate a potential partner.
More often than not, showing how their clients or prospects will benefit from your offering is a big step forward. Look at all the potential benefits your partnership provides. Don't stick with the obvious. Dig deep, and list all the advantages they get from doing this venture.
At the very least, and aside from the extra money they earn, if you can show your partner how your offering will benefit their prospects and make your partner look good, you have a headstart.
But don't stop there.
Think about it: if your partnership will make your partner look good, what will that translate into? More money? Sure. But it can also translate into:
- More sales of their own products.
- More publicity and visibility in the marketplace.
- More word-of-mouth advertising.
- More brand equity and trust from their people.
- New distribution channels to exploit.
- New markets to enter.
- New or increased opt-in lists.
- Different testing possibilities.
- And so on.
Personally, I hate it when a potential joint-venture partner approaches me only to offer me a portion of the sales. This is typical of most commission-based affiliate sales, and is by no means a joint-venture partnership at all.
A joint venture is a joint venture.
(It particularly irks me when a potential partner asks me to contribute content or share my resources when they have nothing to share with me. Why would I give up a percentage of my own sales? So don't do that.)
Again, there must be something different. Something extra. Something else that makes this a truly viable and worthwhile investment of your partner's time, marketing, and intellectual property.
Bundling products or offers is an effective strategy. If the JV's product is a non-competing one, complements your product, and fits your market too, then it can be bundled with yours to create an entirely new and separate offering.
If you have a list that can benefit your partner and if your partner has a list you can promote to, or if you can build a new one together that you both can share ownership, that's another added benefit.
But let's say there isn't anything else.
Let's say you have created a truly exceptional product that would greatly benefit your partner's people. And let's assume you're looking to leverage profits from your product off of a joint-venture partner's opt-in list.
First off, you need to have sales materials ready and tested to prove that:
- Your product is in demand.
- Your product is already selling.
- Your product is selling well.
In this case, you can offer 50% of the sales, and include a sample of your product and your proven, high-converting sales letter, if possible.
Again, point out the benefits. Their list will appreciate the valuable product they're offering, and they will appreciate your partner for thinking of them, too.
But do your homework first!
Do you know and understand their market? Is your product a perfect fit? Is your market a perfect fit for their product(s), too? How many people do they actually have on their lists or how big is their market?
If you can discover how many people are on that person's list, you can provide them with a little math ahead of time.
For example, let's say you know that their list consists of 5,000 people. Based on a sales letter with tested conversion rate of 3% and an average open-rate of 40%, you can speculate that your partner will gross about $3,000 in profits on your $50 product by doing just one mailout. So mention this in your initial approach.
But don't stop there. Alone, this is a typical, commission-based affiliate offer. You're not recruiting affiliates. You want partners. So amplify the offer to increase your likelihood of receiving a “yes.”
Make it a little higher than normal, if you can. Or throw in details of your list and how they can share in the total list built from this promotion. Make whatever extra you bring to the table stand out.
Do you have additional resources that this potential partner does not have, resources they might benefit from? Do you have a pre-designed website, pre-tested ads and sales copy, additional distribution channels, cheaper suppliers, an existing support helpdesk, etc?
Whatever extra you do have to offer, or whatever value-add you think might benefit them, don't leave those details out. Tell them. In other words, give them the goods right away.
Doing so makes you look special and doesn't drown your offer in a bunch of historical platitudes (“about me and my business,” etc), or patronizing, hype-filled buzzwords (“market leader,” “top quality,” “synergy,” or “bleeding edge,” etc) that's only going to result in a few yawns.
But don't stop there, either.
Point out, in no uncertain terms, that you're making this offer to them and them only. And point out that you're making this offer available only through this special partnership.
Yes, I highly recommend you do offer something extra-special or exclusive. (Remember, you're looking for a joint-venture partner, not just an affiliate.)
If not, tell them you're making this offer only to a very select group of people. But also, make sure to list all the facts and reasons why their promotions won't get drowned in a sea of competing, promotional messages.
Nevertheless, say something like:
“Since I'm confident your people will love this product (and they will love you more for offering this to them), I want to reward you specifically by paying you 50% [rather than my standard 25% commission rate for affiliates]…”
Here's an extra tip.
(This single tip is one of the most effective ways we use to gain partners.)
If you want your JV offer to stand out a bit more, then offer a bit more, too — such as 51% or 55% rather than the typical 50%.
Why? Because 50% is such a round, arbitrary number, where odd numbers like 51% or 55% sound “special.” (We've tested this by offering 53% in JV deals, and they did better than 50%.)
It gives your offer a sense of specialness and exclusivity. By giving them an extra percent or two, it makes the JV prospect feel as if they're getting the better end of the deal. They are making more money than you are.
It's all about lifetime customer value. If you're doing this precisely to leverage their lists in order to build a bigger one for yourself from which you can profit more in the future, then who cares if they get paid more?
Finally, I would also add that you can go even a step above by offering a bundled offer after the initial promotion, where you and your JV bundle your products together at a higher price, and split the profits.
(Again, a true joint venture goes beyond a typical affiliate-based arrangement. It doesn't have to be just more commissions. Otherwise, they are just glorified affiliates or “super-affiliates.”)
You can promote this bundled package to both your lists. If they've offered your product in the past to their lists, then a bundled offer can get the remaining non-buyers to buy. It might just be the extra nudge they need!
Say your conversion is 3% on average. Your JV partner promotes it as a standalone offer to their existing lists of people with whom they have an established relationship. Their conversion is therefore higher. Say, 5%.
By bundling products, you both can scratch up an extra 5% or even more in additional sales (I've seen as much as 11-12%). These non-buyers might be more inclined to buy the bigger, more valued-added package.
If you can, offer it at a special price too, which is less than the two products sold separately. This helps you to abstain from offering any discounts, which can cheapen your product. It's a special offer, not a discount.
(Perception here is powerful. The bundle and its price are separate and distinct from each individual product, so any special pricing doesn't affect the value perception of each standalone product.)
Look at it this way: you wouldn't have generated these additional sales if you or your partner simply stopped after the initial offer.
In fact, this bundle might be just the perfect nudge to get your JV's prospects to finally buy that JV's own product! (Now, that's a benefit you should definitely include in your request, if you choose this route.)
Or at the very least, ask your JV partner if you can become their affiliate and promote their product to your list, too. Again, it's a win-win solution and beyond a typical affiliate arrangement.
Sometimes motivating a potential joint-venture partner takes a little massaging. Don't be afraid to do your homework and show the numbers, presenting them in a light that most favors your partner, and listing all the benefits and possibilities they may not have considered.
Above all, don't just talk about the money. While it is the most common reason behind joint-venture partnerships, list all the additional benefits your partner (and their prospects) will receive, too.
A good list-leveraging partnership is worth a little extra effort.
Michel Fortin is a senior marketing specialist, renowned copywriter, and digital marketing expert. For the better part of 30 years, he's produced countless successful marketing communications and profitable campaigns that generated in excess of $300 million in sales. He's broken many industry sales records, including being instrumental behind the first ever “million-dollar day” online marketing campaign in 2004. He's worked with thousands of businesses and entrepreneurs around the world in a wide variety of industries on building their businesses, improving their marketing, and increasing their profits. He's a published author and often speaks at industry events. To connect with him, visit his LinkedIn profile where he is most active.