CG #38 - Endorsement Partnerships

September 24, 2022
Nathan Rodgers
Get ready-to-buy leads and clients by having other businesses recommend your products or services to their prospects and customers.

Building a business is tough.

Building a business in isolation is insanity.

We all need help and support from other business owners as we go to give us ideas and feedback, support us, guide us, lighten the burden, and share our work with others.

This past week I was lucky to connect with some awesome folks who are farther along but were still willing to help.

Jamie at Minimum Hustler Daily promoted my newsletter to his list even though it's 4x bigger.

Josh Spector of For the Interested responded to a DM question about LinkedIn even though he has almost 25k followers.

And Kevon from Public Lab replied to an email and gave me some tough love feedback about how my Twitter persona is vastly different from who I am off Twitter.

I'd recommend following all three and signing up for their newsletters.

My goal is to be helpful to you as well.

Not only through the contents of this newsletter, but also by helping in other ways if I can.

So, if you have a question, are struggling, or need help growing your business, hit reply and let me know.

I'll respond with some thoughts on how you can move forward, or we can even hop on a quick call to talk it over.

Oh, and there's one other way we can benefit from building relationships with other business owners:

Referring clients to each other.

Which just happens to be what this issue is all about...

Client-Getting Strategy of the Week:

ENDORSEMENT PARTNERSHIPS

Purpose:

Get ready-to-buy leads and clients by having other businesses recommend your products or services to their prospects and customers.

Who / What it Works For:

Any businesses can use this strategy to gain access to other businesses' customers that fit their target customer profile.

How it Works:

The goal is to gain access to the prospects and customers of other businesses that sell products or services that complement yours.

You leverage the trust those businesses have already built with their customers, and create a new "sales force" that you don’t have to manage or pay unless they produce qualified sales.

There are three "endorsement scenarios" and three "endorsement systems" to consider.

Endorsement Scenarios

1. They endorse your product or service to their customers (or audience) that have a need for what you offer but that they don't offer themselves

In this situation, the partner would promote your product or service to their customers or email list either on an on-going or one-time basis.

This kind of endorsement can happen through

  • A physical mailing or an email
  • Being listed on their website as a preferred or recommended partner
  • Direct recommendations when a need arises (e.g., a web developer or funnel builder recommends a copywriter, an accountant recommends a marketing coach, etc.)

To find opportunities here, think of your business as part of an ecosystem and identify partners you could recommend and who could recommend you.

2. You sell a product or service that is needed after someone purchases what they sell

In this scenario, a partner recommends you to a customer who just purchased something from them and now is likely to need what you offer.

For example, a landscaper could recommend a lawn maintenance company, or a lawyer who helps with business incoporations could recommend an accountant.

To find opportunities here

  1. Make a list of what your clients buy before, during, and after they do business with you.
  2. Identify the services/products that are of highest value to another business and where there is likely to be interest and openness to paying for referred clients.
  3. For each service/product identified in Step 2, identify a specific business or businesses they purchase from.

This gives you a list of potential partners to reach out to.

Take the example of a florist selling arrangements for weddings. Before the couple comes to the florist they may purchase: a ring, a venue, a dress, a wedding planner, etc.

Other services they may look for during or after purchasing flowers include a caterer, a DJ, a wedding cake, a photographer, etc.

Providers of these services are possible partners who could refer business to the florist (or to whom the florist could refer business in exchange for a referral fee/comission).

3. Customers inquire about their services but fail to buy

This happens when a prospect considers purchasing a partner's product or service, but fails to do so.

This typically happens because your partner:

  • Doesn't offer the service or product the prospect wants/needs (but you do)
  • Is too busy to service the prospect (and you are able to service them)

In these circumstances, an endorsement partnership is a win-win.

You get a referral and your partner has an opportunity make money on a propsect they would otherwise have lost.

Opportunities here will most often be found with your "competitors".

That is, businesses offering a same or similar service but with a different focus, product line, etc.

For example, a Toyota dealership could partner with a Ford dealership, an ecommerce marketing consultant with a local business marketing consultant, or hotels in the same area could partner to recommend each other when one or the other gets full.

Three Types of Endorsement Systems

1. Passive / Informal

This is where someone agrees to "recommend" you but there is no formal system in place to do so or to compensate for referred business.

2. Semi-Active

They include your marketing material without an explicit endorsement. For example, they include you in a list of preferred providers, include your flyer in their mailing, or link to your website on theirs.

3. Active / Formal

In this type of relationship, you have an explicit agreement that your business will be actively promoted to your partner's customers in exchange for some type of compensation.

Ways to compensate

  • Percentage of profits from new business
  • Percentage of revenue from new business
  • Fixed fee per inquiry/lead
  • Fixed fee per new client
  • Barter / In-kind exchange
  • Retainer

Keys to Success:

Be clear about what you offer

Before approaching a potential partner, know what's in it for them.

The better you make your partner look to their clients and the better the compensation, the more open they'll be to endorsing you consistently.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What do I have of value that other businesses will be hungry to utilize or sell?
  • How can I make my offer attractive to my future partner?
  • What benefits - monetary and otherwise - will my partner get?
  • What benefits -monetary and otherwise - can I offer to my partner's customers?

Pick the right partners

Be sure to look for partners that offer similar quality and have the same integrity and ethics as you.

Keep in mind that your endorsement is a direct reflection on you, your business and your reputation, and their endorsement of you is a direct reflection on them, their business and their reputation.

Be clear about the agreement

Be explicit about exactly what the partnership does and does not include. This should include:

  • How, when and where endorsements/referrals will take place
  • How referred clients will be tracked/audited
  • What triggers a financial or other compensation
  • How commissions and fees will be paid to the partner
  • Payment schedule
  • How long the agreement will last
  • How to end the agreement

Put it in writing

If this is an active/formal endorsement agreement, avoid problems and misunderstandings by formalizing your agreement in writing and signing it.

Invest in the relationship

A good partnership can make a significant impact on your business.

Make sure you are nurturing the relationship, providing training and marketing collateral on your product/services, providing updates on how things are going, and of course, paying fairly and in a timely manner.

Additional Resources:

9 Critical Steps to Developing Successful B2B Partnerships

How to grow your business with B2B partnerships

How to Get and Leverage Endorsement Deals

Something Else You Might Like

If you are publishing regularly to Twitter, or are thinking about it, having a good scheduling tool saves time and helps ensure you stay consistent.

I tried a lot of them.

The one I like the best and use myself is Hypefury. It's packed with great features but what won me over was the clean writing canvas for writing Threads (which I need to do more of).

Get started for free here.

My "door" is open to help. Just email me at nathan@nathanrodgers.com.

- Nathan

Other Issues