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Tips on Striking Business Partnerships

You likely need partnerships to grow your business.

Here are some tips I’ve used to close partnerships with such companies as Disney, Microsoft, Sprint, Sony Music and NBC.

  1. What’s Your Endgame — As Stephen Covey says in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, start with the end in mind. Imagine the press release you would like to announce your partnership – be as specific as possible.
  2. Establish the “What” before the “How” — Make sure to be clear with yourself and partner on “what” it is you’re both trying to do before you dive into the how. An example of a “what”: you may want traffic from your partner’s Web site to your own; and they may want you to pay them to advertise on their Web site. An example of a “How” would be: Your partner will put a link for your Web site on their Web site.
  3. Those Who Listen, Win — Don’t talk too much: focus on your partner’s challenges.
  4. Ask A Lot of Questions — As I pointed out in my article on Spin Selling, ask a lot of questions (especially about what your partner’s objective is). A favorite question of mine is: “What’s your biggest challenge?”
  5. Be Direct & Honest — Don’t beat around the bush. Be as honest and direct with your partner on what you want as possible.
  6. Determine the Fit First/Business Model Later — Focus on getting to know each other and finding the partnership fit first, before you get caught up in negotiating. The business terms will be much easier once you’ve fallen a bit in love as partners.

Best of luck!