When the idea to start a business pops into someone's head, marketing and promotion are not the first things on their mind. It's the product or service that gets everyone excited and drives the new business forward. And then of course there are the profits.
If you haven’t seen them already, click here to read Part One ‘What does Collaboration or Syndicate Marketing Really Mean’ or here for Part Two ‘How to Start a Syndicate Marketing Group‘
The start-up phase is a great time in the life cycle of the business and normally everything looks rosy. All interested parties, e.g. directors and sales people are eager to share the news with everyone they know. Then, very soon they’re making sales, and everyone feels unstoppable.
However, there is a downside to most 'ups', and in this case, once the business has exhausted the initial contacts, then the real work starts. It's almost like the honeymoon period is over and then the question arises, "now what?"
For many, the only answer is to go networking. Don’t get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with meeting other businesses. The trouble is, they're in the same boat as you! This explains the dilemma when you go to these meetings and meet new contacts - everybody wants to sell and nobody wants to buy. You can see in their demeanour, that they want you to hurry up and stop talking so they can pitch to you!
It is accepted that marketing is needed, but cold calling, either by telephone, email or knocking on doors is the least effective method. Word of mouth, i.e. referrals, is probably the best way, but let's face it, because networking can be so superficial, the desired result of someone introducing you to all their customers is slim.
Also, the flip side is that you're also unlikely to personally introduce someone to all your customers, who has no commitment to you. It might be simply because you have to focus on new business or it’s not profitable revisiting old customers for the benefit of someone else.
With over 25 years’ experience in sales and marketing I can say that I have lived through most of the ups and downs of business and the perennial problem is where to find new customers; there has to be a happy medium.
In my previous article "What does syndicate marketing really mean?" I talked about the different perceptions of collaboration marketing. As we move forward I want to help you get a grasp of how effective syndicate marketing can be for your business and, to clarify, this is about increasing your income, and not just playing nice with other departments!
Once you've got past the stage of identifying your fellow collaborators and you're happy to work with them, you can progress together with your common goal of promoting your group and winning more business.
Promoting a group of people with a common theme or trait is received by customers very differently than a typical networking introduction. Let's face it, you're only going to mention another company if you're aware your customer has a need. It is extremely rare that anyone would speak on behalf of another company when they have an appointment to discuss their own business offering.
Syndicate marketing must seamlessly blend in with everything you do, from your marketing, to finance and even to the documentation that you produce as a group.
It doesn't take a genius to work out that if you are trying to connect with the decision maker, so is every other competitor of yours!
So, the key to promotion by syndicate marketing is using someone else to do it for you, and for it not to seem false. By that I mean working with other companies who can collectively create information, content and even brochures in order that your group comes across as genuinely helpful to new prospects and customers.
It is important to put yourself in the shoes of the person you are selling to. If you're not sure how you are coming across, simply ask someone else's opinion who is not related, as they will always bring you back down to earth if you're missing the mark.
Another element is the fact that combined, you are reducing the amount of content forced upon your clients. Depending on how many members are in your syndicate, you can share with your existing customers that you are reducing the email and promotional data by combining your messages into your ‘syndicate’ communications.
If you're interested in reviewing ways to improve profitability, exposure to new business and want to find out how it can change your business, then click here for more information about salesXchange. It may be that our syndicates are just what you need, so get to know us by browsing the site and let’s talk.