18 Sep Collaboration – The difference between referrers and partners
Over the years at IBN we have managed to attract and retain some great referral partners. Admittedly we also have our share of casual referrers, those who contact us only on a needs to basis. Let’s concentrate on the ones who enhance our business, and in return we hopefully enhance theirs.
Firstly there is a need to identify your ideal referral partner. Only you will know if they are your type of person.
- What do they look like from a business perspective? Do they play in the same sandbox as us? Will they add value to our business?
- Where do they operate from? Not just location wise but are your core values & purpose in alignment. You need to ensure the person you are dealing with is going to portray similar values as you would
- Who is their client base? If you are selling ice it may not be a good idea to partner with a fireplace salesman.
- What are they looking for from us? Referrals need to be a win/win situation. You have to offer something to them in return for what they are providing you- a highly valued client.
Once we have identified our ‘ideal’ business partner we need to ask “Am I comfortable working with them?”. Internally we have a no dickhead policy – and it works. It can be very difficult to adhere to this religiously as there are times when it is necessary to deal with people you don’t necessarily like. But should we? To clarify someone being difficult to deal with or having a difference of opinion does not put them into the ‘dickhead’ policy- in fact strong opposing views can actually enhance our everyday lives. Being difficult to deal with often means they have a strong focus. The comfort factor is underestimated in business. If all you are focused on is making money then you will deal with whoever can achieve that goal for you, it won’t matter if they are a dickhead, it won’t matter if you are comfortable with them and it won’t matter if their core values are anywhere near yours. However if you are in business for more than that, then it will matter, and it will matter so greatly that everything you do or say will be in alignment with your core purpose.
Everyone in business sells a product or service. Everyone has a competitor – whether it is major or minor. So we identify ourselves not so much about what we do or sell but about WHY we do it. WHY we do anything, personal or business, has a massive effect on those we are dealing with. Ask your partner for $10,000 and you’ll see the ‘why’ will have a great bearing on the outcome. The why is your persuasive argument, otherwise you are just selling a commodity, like everyone else.
Don’t be any means stop talking to people just because you feel they don’t align. We all need to cast our net wide and history shows that some of the most profitable outcomes come from the unlikeliest of sources. I have mentioned it many times- quantum physics has a lot in common with business. It works on probabilities and all we are trying to do in business and aligning ourselves with the right partners is to get the percentages right. Minimize the risk of mistakes and increase our chances (or probabilities) that we select the right business to partner with.