Not too long ago, I had a business coach client email me with exciting news. He’d been working to secure strategic partnerships with CPA firms, and finally landed one. He said:
“I just picked up a check for $2,625! My client is a CPA firm which I had approached about a strategic partnership–splitting coaching fees with the clients they bring us. They were EXTREMELY excited about the idea. And then after talking, they realized they needed help, too! We’re off!”
Strategic partnerships are an incredibly effective, high-leverage way to win more clients.
They operate on the principle of trust–in this case, the client’s trust in your strategic partner, and your strategic partner’s trust in you.
If you can be the go-to expert that service providers such as accountants, bankers, and lawyers refer their clients to when it’s clear they need business coaching, you can have a steady stream of high-quality, ready-to-rock clients with minimal sales and marketing costs.
So how do you do it? Follow the steps outlined below.
If you can be the go-to expert that service providers such as accountants, bankers, and lawyers refer their clients to when it's clear they need business coaching, you can have a steady stream of high-quality, ready-to-rock clients with minimal sales and marketing costs.
Step 1. Identify and Contact Your Ideal Strategic Partners
First, develop a list of businesses in your area or niche that share your same client profile. This needs to be a non-competitive business (e.g. don’t try this with another business or executive coach!). The best-case scenario is to work with other professionals because they’re already in a position of trust with their clients. Look for:
- Accountants / CPAs
- Financial advisors
- Bankers / lenders
- Business brokers
- Corporate attorneys
You can also connect with printers, office furniture retailers, internet service providers, web developers, outsourced IT firms, and others that provide products and services for businesses that match your ideal client profile. Those partnerships won’t be as fruitful as the ones that are already in influential positions of advising, but they can still yield excellent results.
Step 2. Create a Proposal for Revenue Sharing or a Fee for Referrals
There are tons of possibilities in terms of how you might structure your strategic partnerships.
- Create a revenue-sharing agreement, where your strategic partner gets a percentage of the coaching fees you collect from their referrals.
- Offer a Complimentary Coaching Session to your partner’s customers, and pay your partner a fee for each one you complete.
- Pay a one-time referral bonus for whenever a client converts.
- Have them bundle coaching in with their regular retainer, and have the strategic partner pay you per session.
You can have different arrangements with different strategic partners, depending on how your goals align with your partner’s.
Step 3. Coach the Clients–and Keep Your Strategic Partner in the Loop!
Finally, do an amazing job coaching your partner’s clients. The better you help your partner’s clients, the more they’ll be willing to send clients your way.
Be sure to keep your strategic partners updated on your progress with your shared clients. Pay your referral fees and revenue splits in a timely way. Flag any troubles early. Meet with your strategic partners regularly and be impeccable in your communication with them. These relationships are as important as your client-coach relationships–perhaps even moreso, because they can turn into long-lasting sources of some of your best clients.
In my coaching business, I had such powerful strategic partners that I’d have accountants and bankers call my cell phone and tell me they had a client set up to come to their office primed and ready. I’d show up, conduct the Complimentary Coaching Session, and leave with a $3,000 to $5,000 check for the first month of services!
How transformative would that be for your business?
For more great business-building strategies like this, download our FREE ebook, Secrets of a Business Coaching Rock Star.