Selling as a solopreneur or small business owner can trip up even the most experienced business development professional – much less the person who is relatively new to sales. I see this all the time with my clients.
Most of the people I work with are newer in their business. The ones who come out of big corporations with established global brands have an additional layer of blocks, which I discuss in The Big Brand Trap Or How To Take Your Skills With You (Please check out this guest post on BarryMoltz.com for quick and easy ways to feel like you have a “real” company.)
One way to feel like more of an expert or to get past the emotional blocks of selling “me” is to partner with someone who provides complementary services to your same target market. If you are an acupuncturist you could maybe connect with a chiropractor or massage therapist or yoga instructor. If you coach small business owners and specialize in strategy and motivation, you could connect with someone who can help with the financial issues of running a business such as setting up the books and the financial pieces of the business plan. These are things that you may not want to do or may not even be qualified to do. When you fill in the missing pieces of your skill sets or service offerings, you look even more valuable to your prospective clients and start to feel like the professional you are (or want to be).
You may even want to connect with people who provide very similar services to yours. If you offer a service like coaching, there are many people out there who provide similar services and may even have similar backgrounds and experience – but a client will pick you for reasons that can be hard to quantify such as connection and affinity. It is hard to force that so even if someone else is a small business coach or consultant, a prospect may be drawn to them or to you for reasons that they can’t really explain with logic.
Collaborating with people doing similar work can enable you to share knowledge, best practices, and leads. If a prospect isn’t a good fit for you and you can refer them to someone who can help them, they will remember you as a valuable resource and may even refer others to you.
If you are very new in your business and are looking to get experience and testimonials, partnering with someone who is more established for a one-time event like a teleclass or webinar can be a great strategy for your business. Here are some reasons why:
- You will feel more comfortable because all the pressure won’t be on you.
- You will feel more credible because someone else (maybe with more experience) is there with you.
- You may provide more value because two heads can be better than one.
- You will get more publicity because both people will be promoting.
- Selling “we” is easier because it doesn’t set off those alarms around not bragging, not being self-centered, etc.
- You won’t want to disappoint your partner so even if you are scared to death or hate selling, you will actually get out there and do it.
You want to make sure that you partner with someone who is ethical and has a similar business philosophy. You want to be confident that they will be as committed to the project as you are. This isn’t a marriage but it is definitely a date. It is a great way to test someone out to see if you want to do business with them in the future. Here are some things to keep in mind when you are looking for a potential partner:
- Have a relationship with them for some period of time. This could be on social media or at in-person networking events.
- Follow their business and make sure that their business practices and values match yours.
- If they are doing some joint events with others, sign up and attend to gauge their ability and commitment.
I love doing teleclasses with other small business coaches and consultants. In fact, I will be doing one with my friend Cathy Presland on this topic of partnerships. “Growing Your Business Through Partnerships” will be held on November 29 at 11 Eastern. Sign-ups will handled on Cathy’s site. Follow her on Twitter or Facebook.
How do you feel about doing teleclasses and events with other professionals? Do you like to work with complementary or similar service providers? I would love to hear what you have done in the comments below!