The Power of Partnerships

Whenever I speak with a computer consultant who’s looking for new and effective ways to market his or her IT Support company, one of the first questions I generally ask is, “How did you get the clients you have now?”

And the answer is almost always the same…

“Referrals.”

Referrals are so heavily relied upon because they require very little effort and are as close to a sure-fire way towards landing a new customer as you’ll ever find.

Think about it for a moment. Imagine you come out of the supermarket and find a nasty dent in your car door from where a runaway shopping cart slammed into it.

Luckily, you’re with a friend who says, “Hey, this is nothing. Call my friend, Joe the Body Man. He’s a miracle worker when it comes to this stuff. The same thing happened to my car last month, and Joe fixed me up for less than I spend when I go out for dinner. I dropped the car off Saturday morning and it was ready for me, good as new, that same afternoon. The guy is top-notch and I wouldn’t think of ever going to anyone else. You should definitely call him.”

If you want to get that dent out of your door, will you be calling Joe? I bet you will.

And other than simply doing a good job for his customer, what did Joe the Body Man have to do to land you as a new customer?

Absolutely nothing. You were pretty much already sold before you picked up the phone. As long as Joe conveyed the professionalism you were expecting when you first spoke, the deal was sealed.

Referrals are very powerful. Effortless and powerful.

So, let’s take it up a notch and imagine that your friend who referred you to Joe actually owns his own car stereo installation shop. Any time a car rolls into his garage, if it’s got a nick, ding, dent or scratch of any kind, your friend makes a referral over to Joe the Body Man.

And the same works in reverse. Any time Joe does body work on someone’s vehicle, maybe he includes a small brochure, or a coupon with a valuable offer to your car-stereo friend’s shop.

Now we’re seeing the power of Partnerships.

When two businesses share a similar customer base, there’s a great opportunity to join forces and help expand each other’s businesses very rapidly.

Can you think of any possible businesses that might share a similar customer base to yours?

Do you have any clients who lease a networked copier/scanner? Is it possible that copier leasing company has customers who could use a computer consultant to assist with the networking of their new copy machine?

How about a local commercial real estate broker who moves small businesses into new offices – and those new businesses could use a hand getting the new network installed?

Or perhaps an architect who builds out new office spaces and can recommend a quality IT firm to design the network along with secure wireless connectivity for the new office?

Whenever a company moves into a new space, they’re going to need the place wired for data and phone services and often have a phone system installed. Perhaps you provide these services yourself. If not, perhaps the company who’s called in to provide this service will be asked to recommend an IT provider.

What about a data recovery company – one that regularly receives calls from customers who have damaged hard drives and could use a reliable computer consultant to assist with the transfer of the data back to the network once the recovery is complete?

Do you currently recommend a particular BDR or disaster recovery service, or ISP, or a cloud storage provider to your clients? Do you think those service providers might occasionally have customers in your area who are in need of a qualified consultant to assist with the installation and configuration of the service?

One of the most lucrative partnerships I’ve ever enjoyed being a part of was with a software application developer who created a product specifically for veterinarians. This company would sell the veterinarian their software package, pre-install it on a server, which they would ship directly to the customer, and then would call my company in to plug in the server, establish connectivity to the desktops and ensure everything was working properly.

Once the job was completed (always at least one full day of billable work), I would then have the opportunity to offer my ongoing IT support, which would more often than not result in a new, long term managed service customer for my company.

There are countless product and service providers out there who are currently serving your existing customers, as well as countless potential new customers for you.

All it takes is reaching out to these providers and start a conversation. Everyone wants to grow their business. Start a dialogue with a potential new partner, express your desire to help, and watch your business reach heights which would be very, very difficult to achieve on your own.

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