The ideal JV partners are people selling complementary (as opposed to directly competitive) products or services to the same customer base as you. Finding these people starts with the questions, “Who already has relationships with the people that I’m trying to sell to? How does what I have fit with what these people are already selling to their market?”
Sometimes there’s a natural fit: Realtors are a natural JV partner for mortgage brokers. Financial advisors and estate-planning lawyers make obvious sense. Chiropractors fit nicely with personal injury attorneys and sports coaches. Sometimes the connection is obvious; sometimes it’s buried a bit deeper.
Keep in mind that the most obvious joint venture partner- ships will also have been obvious to your competitors. Most Realtors know that developing referral relationships with mort- gage brokers makes a lot of sense. Thus, if you’re going to pursue the most obvious connections, you’re going to have to think of creative or compelling ways to get them to pay attention to you. In many cases, putting in the time to develop a list of less obvious JV partners makes a lot of sense since there is less competition.
This is what we refer to as the fishing-hole analogy. Do you want to fish at a pond where you know there are lots of fish, but so does everyone else—so the banks are teeming with other fishermen; or do you want to seek out the ponds where there are per- haps fewer fish, but far less competition? There are advantages and disadvantages to both approaches, but it’s worth developing a list of potential JV partners that’s beyond just the obvious ones.
One great idea if you’re having trouble is to talk with some of your customers. What types of products or services (aside from your own) would they be interested in? Is there anything that comes before the sale of your service that would be helpful for them? Is there anything they need after they have bought your product or service? Thinking and asking your current clients about these “before” and “after” scenarios may unlock some cre- ative ideas for potential JV partners.
Let me know if I can help.
Mark Satterfield, Gentle Rain Marketing — Author , Marketing Consulting Expert, Lead Generation, Business Development, Marketing Strategy, Get More Clients, Increase Revenue — Click here for his Facebook Twitter LinkedIn YouTube