Strategic Partnership Guidelines
THINK: WIIFT (What’s in it for them?)
How to setup a strategic partnership – step-by-step
It is very important to always follow this EXACTLY in the order it appears here:
- research before you approach the business/school/kindy/club
- choose a quiet time for that particular business… it is no good trying to approach that business owner when they are mid-job. For example, don’t approach a coffee place at 8am! They will simply be too busy.
- Lead with “Hi, I am ______ from Infinity Martial Arts… we are a local club that has JUST opened and we are looking to form some relationships with other local businesses that can benefit both of us.”
- Then you need to establish WIIFT – What’s In It For Them?
- Figure out what kind of offer or promotion will work for them…
- Finalise the partnership
- Track and record all partnerships
- Check up on and maintain relationships with these partners
Research before you approach
Find out about the businesses what you can from talking to other locals, getting recommendations, and just watching how their business works… watch where their customers congregate, where they wait for their juice to be made, watch what their customers do when waiting for a juice… it is all about proximity – you need to be close to where the action (customers waiting around in this case) is happening. Example: you want your lead box to be right in the area where people are waiting for their takeaway coffee.
We also don’t want to align with any old business. We want to try align with the best of each type in the area. It isn’t a total numbers game but rather a quality and reach game. Be on every street corner, in every area, in every type of business… this will give you the greatest chance of being seen.
What can YOU offer them?
The thing to remember here is we really do want to offer something of value – something that will lead to more of our members choosing to do business with these ‘recommended businesses’. So make sure you genuinely look for good matches and good strategic partners.
You need to establish what THEY want BEFORE you can even start talking about what we want in return.
For simple arrangements where they are happy to have one of our lead boxes or some flyers, then we can offer:
- New member pack insertion
- what works best is some type of voucher to get them in for a first visit
- Community Noticeboard poster or flyers/business cards in the club
For partnerships that are more beneficial to us (where we can speak more directly to their database, Facebook page or be inserted into their newsletters), then:
- Newsletter (electronic) advertising (monthly) – either a large shout-out or some ongoing at the bottom of ours
- usually you will do both – an initial shout out then some ongoing
- Facebook shout-outs
- Database list (email out on their behalf)
- we never can give them our list, but we can do a shoutout via email to our entire list…
Think about what that type of business could offer us
It is your job to make suggestions (never rely on anybody else being as motivated, smart or insightful as you are).
Do they fit into the category where you need to place an order then wait for a minute or two before getting what you ordered (coffee, juice, sandwich, etc)? If so, then a lead box is perfect. Flyers are another good option with business cards coming in as a third option…
Are they more of a gym/educational institution, etc with a database of members that we can potentially get access to? Then trying to get a mention in their newsletter, or a regular advert, or some cross-promos in each other’s newsletters is the way to go. The ultimate goal would be to exchange an email mail-out.
Examples of good businesses to approach:
You want to approach businesses where you can deal directly with a decision-maker. Small local businesses are usually the best places. Schools and kindys are an exception – they are bigger but you can still usually talk to a decision maker, or at least get an appointment with one.
- nutrition stations/stores
- juice bars
- health food shops
- anywhere that sells acai
- Brazilian BBQ restaurants
- craft breweries
- Men’s sheds (if they cater to younger men)
- Yoga – these are good because most of their members are women and most of ours are men
- Bars that show UFC matches
- we can get some beer coasters made up and supply these free of charge to the venue for UFC events.
- specialty kids hairdressers
- coffee shops
- kids clothing stores
- toy stores
- McDonalds, Hungry Jacks, etc
- birthday party strategy
- Kids clubs: shopping centres often have these
Keep a record and refill weekly
Keep a record of where every community noticeboard is located on a check-sheet – go and refill our flyers each and every week.
Keep a record of where every lead box is located and check and send those leads through each and every week. Refill if required.
You should have one day per week that is simply keeping up already established relationships, and refilling the flyers/cards/checking lead boxes, etc
Always carry with you
- blu tack
- tacks for pinning to noticeboards
- free passes (e.g., 3-day membership experiences)
- generic business cards with offer on the back
Make them feel extra-special
As a special bonus we offer every business owner we do cross-promotions with the opportunity to train with us for a 50% discount (or even 100% if the relationship is good enough). If they don’t want to train, then they can pass this on to one other person – a friend of family member…
Note: 50% off training fees only. Any other items are usual price (uniforms, gradings, seminars, etc)
Example of how to approach a Yoga studio:
“Hi I’m ______ from Martial Arts… a local club just up the road. We have just opened a few months ago and are looking to do some cross-promotions with other local businesses.
Most of our adult members are men… would I be right in saying most of yours are women?
[here you are looking to establish lots of mini-agreements before asking for a major agreement].
Most of our members are between 20 and 35 years… is that about the same with yours?
[again, looking for mini-agreements].
“What I am thinking is that we will have a lot of guys at training while their girlfriends and wives are at home bored, waiting for them… These girls are never going to come and train with us, but if they saw one of your ‘free class passes’ or ‘$50 off membership’ in their boyfriends welcome pack they might just go along and try it out…”
Do you think that is something you might be interested in?
[again, looking for a mini-agreement which gives you permission to move forward another step].
Okay, great.. well I would love to get you guys in our welcome pack. Do you also do a welcome pack for your new members?
[this is where we start searching for what we can do at their place – you should have already done some ground research by looking around and seeing if there are any other lead boxes, forms, business cards, etc or if they might have a welcome pack].
Example of what we use at our Kawana location: