21Jun/120

The Power of Partnerships: Partnerships with Your Employees and Contractors, by Denise Trifiletti

Posted by Denise Trifiletti

My last column discussed how strategic business partnerships can increase client satisfaction, client referrals, and long-term client retention. This article explains how forging strong partnerships with your employees and/or contractors can also grow your business.

Most business owners don't consider their employees to be their strategic and tactical business partners. This is unfortunate. Most of the time, your employees have a closer relationship with your customers than you do. Your employees also have a vested interest in the success of your business. You need to recognize these realities.

Appreciate the fact that your employees are human beings. Their feelings about you and your customers run the full gamut. Some days they will be up, some days down. Some days they will come to work energized and focused, some days they won't. By treating them as your partners, you will be able to work with them, and they with you. They will be more considerate of your needs and more willing to 'go the extra mile' to help your business grow. Their strong sense of ownership will be reflected in their work.

The key here is that you must reciprocate. Work with your people. Help them by showing consideration for their situations, both professional and personal. Get to know them and learn what makes them tick. What are their interests? What are their needs? Think of ways to recognize them and the work they do. The old axiom, "Reward in public; reprimand in private," is as valuable as the Golden Rule.

Help your employees to understand and internalize the relationship between their financial well-being and the success of your business. Make sure they have the tools necessary to do the job—and to do it well. If possible, base a portion of their compensation on the success of the business.

Give your employee partners ample opportunities to give you advice - yes, advice. An employee whose expertise is solicited by the boss is grateful for the opportunity to contribute. Remember, however, that if you accept input with a polite expression of thanks, and then fail to consider it, you are closing the door on great ideas in the future. You may not choose to follow every suggestion that you receive, but you should always give your employees recognition for their efforts and interest. Be sure to let them know what action, if any, you plan to take. If you implement one of your employee's ideas, make sure everyone understands how that idea meshes with your overall business strategies.

Speaking of business strategies, do you share yours with your employees? If not, the time to start doing so is now. You know from personal experience that in order to be the best you can be, you must know why you're doing what you're doing. You can't be committed if you're not connected, and neither can your employees.

Now, let's consider your contractors.

As with their employees, most business owners fail to regard their contractors as partners—viewing them only as sources of products or services. This is a mistake. Your contractors are businesses as well, run by business people who work with their own clients and suppliers. If your suppliers become your partners, you will have many opportunities to improve each other's bottom lines.

You can establish a mutually beneficial business-to-business partnership with a service provider, such as an attorney or an accountant. Your attorney, for example, has other clients, as well as a variety of business relationships within and outside the profession. It is likely that he or she will be familiar with those individuals' needs. If you can meet those needs, your attorney will be comfortable making introductions and providing referrals, since the two of you have already built a relationship based on mutual trust. You, in turn, can reciprocate by confidently referring your attorney to your clients and business contacts.

These partnerships with your employees and your contractors are not only excellent partnerships to have. In my view, they are essential. Failing to recognize the possibilities inherent in these partnerships leaves countless opportunities untapped—something you don't want to do!

Consider this: If your employees and contractors were your raving fans, providing you with quality referrals, how much business could you handle?

This article first appeared in Business Coaching Worldwide (Winter Issue 2006, Volume 2, Issue 3). Copyright © 2012 WABC Coaches Inc. All rights reserved.

Denise Trifiletti, a business coach and an accomplished leader in the fields of sales and training, is the co-founder of Dynamic Destiny Partnerships, LLC and the founder of Women's Community, LLC. She is the author of Create the Business Breakthrough You Want: Secrets and Strategies of the World's Greatest Mentors (Mission Publishing, 2004). Denise can be reached by email at denise@womenscommunity.com.

If you wish to reproduce this article in any material form, you must first contact WABC for permission.
7Jun/120

Partnerships: The Key to Your Exponential Growth, by Denise Trifiletti

Posted by Denise Trifiletti

Are you juggling all the balls in your family and business life? Are you struggling to keep all of the aspects of your business operating smoothly, while at the same time meeting the needs of your family and others who rely on you? How can you find time for yourself, focus on what you enjoy, and live the life you love? You do this by establishing a powerful partnership with yourself.

In previous articles, I defined Power Partnerships as relationships in which two or more people or organizations come together to accomplish 'all-win' outcomes. Power Partners achieve greater results together than they could individually. And their results can be personal, professional, or both.

There are several types of partnerships:

  • Partnership with yourself – for balance and to live a life you love;
  • Partnership with your network – for referrals and solutions to your business needs;
  • Partnership with your clients – for increased satisfaction, referrals, add-on business; and
  • Partnership with your prospects – for increased sales and revenues.

With whom should you partner?  In business, partner with those who can help you achieve your goals. Review your goals, and take an inventory of what you need to achieve them. If you need more sales or an expanded market reach, find those who can provide you with quality and consistent referrals, those who can open doors to your target market, those who are influential in your field, and those who can increase your reach and exposure.

Most often, people focus on partnerships with others. But none of these can substitute for a partnership with yourself. A 'Partnership with Yourself' means that you live a life of balance, and have time to do all that is important to you.

As an example, imagine the start of your day. Do you rise, go through a series of rote steps, such as brushing your teeth, bathing, dressing, having breakfast—without thinking about the day ahead? Do you robotically get into your car, head down the same road as every other day, and arrive at work (or your appointment or networking meeting) without being conscious of having gotten there? Do you slip into your work routine and find the day half over when you get this uncomfortable feeling you have been here before and you still have accomplished nothing of personal value?

Now, imagine a different start to your day. You come awake, turn off the alarm, and just lie quietly for a few moments. You reflect on the day ahead, and why it is important to you. You think about not just what you have to do, but why it is important. You consciously consider your values, your mission, and your vision for yourself. As you rise and go through your morning routines, you continue to reflect on all of your roles and goals, relative to your vision and mission. In Partnership with Yourself, you are guided by your personal and professional values and vision.

While having coffee or eating breakfast, you start to sort the duties of the day. First, you identify those things that have the greatest value to you as a person, because they align with who you are, what you believe, and where your passions lie. You feel a surge of energy and enthusiasm about getting to them first. You focus on the right things, those activities that match your roles and goals; those that fit with your plan, and which provide you with balance, personally and professionally. In Partnership with Yourself, you establish priorities that are balanced and meaningful.

You look at your activities logically and intellectually, and evaluate their ROI. You are at peace with yourself because you are focused on what is most important and effective: those activities that provide the greatest ROI. Then, you check your efficiency and ensure you are both 'doing things right' and doing the right things. In Partnership with Yourself, you evaluate whether you can delegate or outsource tasks to preserve your time and focus.

You begin to feel a real sense of internal harmony. You have developed a partnership with yourself. You have identified your vision, top roles, goals, and priorities, and you have a balanced plan. People will notice. Your colleagues will see a difference. You are more in control, have more peace of mind, less stress, greater focus and balance.

Have you noticed this trait in truly effective leaders? Have you seen how they calmly and effectively get things done? Have you sensed that they know the right things to do? Have you noticed they are rarely caught up in minutia? Have you ever wondered why this is so? They have their vision, roles, goals, and priorities in place, allowing for a high level of balance and internal harmony. Perhaps it is because they are in 'Partnership with Self.'

This article first appeared in Business Coaching Worldwide (Winter Issue 2006, Volume 2, Issue 4). Copyright © 2012 WABC Coaches Inc. All rights reserved.

Denise Trifiletti, a business coach and an accomplished leader in the fields of sales and training, is the co-founder of Dynamic Destiny Partnerships, LLC and the founder of  Women's Community, LLC. She is the author of  Create the Business Breakthrough You Want: Secrets and Strategies of the World's Greatest Mentors (Mission Publishing, 2004). Denise can be reached by email at denise@womenscommunity.com.

If you wish to reproduce this article in any material form, you must first contact WABC for permission.
9Feb/120

The Power of Partnerships: Your Key to Greater Client Satisfaction, Referrals, and Retention, by Denise Trifiletti

Posted by WABC

In my last column, I explained how partnerships in business can be the key to increasing sales, margins and profits. This article takes the next step by discussing how to increase client satisfaction and retention, obtain business referrals, and increase your client revenues through the power of partnerships.

First, you know it is a tough world out there, and you face a lot of competition. Your competition is knocking on your clients' doors and seeking the same returns that you are looking for. In view of this fact, it only makes sense for you to forge as many strategic business partnerships as you possibly can. This is already a strategy of virtually every one of the Fortune 500 companies—why not a strategy for you?

A "Power Partnership" in business is one in which you and your partner leverage each other's talents for the benefit of both. It is a partnership in which you leverage what you each bring to the marketplace in order to add value for your respective clients. Let's explore this from the perspectives of client satisfaction, referral business, and client retention.

  • Client satisfaction: An axiom of business is that a satisfied client is "gold in the attic." Another axiom is that every client has the potential to become dissatisfied with your products and services. Never assume client satisfaction. Remaining client-centric and keeping in close contact with your clients is key. Continuously ask and learn about their changing needs—then meet them, either through your own products and services, or through those of your Power Partners.

Present your value proposition clearly and frequently, and measure your progress with your clients. Do you have an ongoing client feedback process? Do you have a written tool to capture quantitative and qualitative data about how you are addressing your clients' needs? Do you solicit feedback about what they like most about your products or services, and in what areas you can improve your offerings? Do you ask about their greatest challenges and the ways in which their businesses have changed so you can continually and creatively find ways to add value and provide solutions to their problems? Do you satisfy their needs by referring your clients to your Power Partners if you cannot solve those problems on your own?

  • Client referrals: How often do you ask your clients for referrals? Do you have a scheduled process and system for doing so? What if you combine your feedback and referral process? If your clients are highly satisfied with what you do for them, that's surely the time to ask for a referral. How about asking for a referral when you first establish your business relationship, during the "honeymoon period"?

How much is a qualified referral worth to you? If you are maintaining excellent client satisfaction, and continuously assisting your clients in growing their businesses and meeting their objectives, they will be delighted to share the great news of the results they are gaining with you! They will be your champions, your ardent fans—and you will be amazed at just how many referrals you can garner. If you refer your clients to your quality Power Partners, your clients will be even more satisfied, and so will your referral partner, resulting in an "all-win" situation! Here is some food for thought: If you are highly successful in giving and receiving quality referrals, and those referrals in turn become the source of more referrals, how much business could you handle?

  • Client retention and revenues: How much is your average client worth revenue-wise on an annual basis? What is your average retention (i.e., how long does an average client do business with you)?  What if you could double the lifetime of your client relationships? That additional retention could increase your revenues by 10, 20, or even 50%. If your network of Power Partners helps you by providing solutions for your clients, you are differentiated as a "value-added" solution provider in the marketplace.

Would these strategies allow you to realize increases in client satisfaction, retention, referrals, and revenues?

This article first appeared in Business Coaching Worldwide ( 2006, Volume 2, Issue 2). Copyright © 2011 WABC Coaches Inc. All rights reserved.

 

Denise Trifiletti, a business coach and an accomplished leader in the fields of sales and training, is the co-founder of Dynamic Destiny Partnerships, LLC and the founder of Women's Community, LLC. Her most recent book is Create the Business Breakthrough You Want: Secrets and Strategies of the World's Greatest Mentors (Mission Publishing, 2004). Denise can be reached by email at denise@womenscommunity.com.

If you wish to reproduce this article in any material form, you must first contact WABC for permission.
7Apr/110

The Power of Partnerships: The Key to Increasing Sales, Margins, and Profits, by Denise Trifiletti

Posted by Denise Trifiletti

Powerful partnerships are the key to improving sales revenues, margins and profits. They are also the best way for you to exponentially increase your business success. Why is this so?

Partnerships can increase your:

  • Qualified leads and word-of-mouth referrals
  • Differentiation and competitive edge
  • Credibility and effectiveness
  • Close ratio and margins

Let's explore what partnerships really are by first defining the term. The one I prefer is this: A partnership is a relationship between two or more organizations whereby everybody contributes, and everybody wins. Risks and rewards are shared, and neither party gains strictly at the other's expense.

As you consider new ways to grow your business, remember that building such "Power Partnerships" can give you maximum sales results while being more cost-effective than any other marketing strategy.

You can build or improve partnerships with your clients, prospects, networks, employees, and vendors by asking yourself, "How can I improve my attitude, skills and knowledge to become efficient and effective at building such partnerships?"

Think of a specific partnership you would like to establish or strengthen. Explore the possibilities of a breakthrough by calling that individual. A potential Power Partner must be a decision-maker, have a problem that you can solve or a need that you can meet, and be willing and able to spend some valuable resources (time/money/energy) on a solution. Ideally, a Power Partner will also fill a gap or meet a business need that you have.

Once you have determined that the potential for a partnership exists (I call this qualifying), you should meet, one-on-one, with that prospective partner. Agree on an agenda, including a discussion of:

  • Partnership benefits (goals)
  • The parts you both will play in the relationship (roles)
  • The values and standards which will guide your relationship (operating principles)
  • How you will define and measure your results (wins)

When you use this approach, it is critical that you ask in-depth and open-ended questions regarding each of these four areas. Why is that? Asking in-depth questions can provide you with a complete understanding of your potential partner, enabling you to explore a variety of ways of creating a truly powerful partnership. Perhaps you barter or co-market the products or services you each provide. You may pay each other for referrals that result in actual business. You can also define your expectations in great detail, to avoid surprises in the future. You can ask your potential partner to quantify the value of the anticipated benefits or "wins" resulting from this partnership. Knowing your value proposition enables you to better understand the advantages you bring to the partnership, allowing you to price and negotiate for optimum margins.

Building a powerful partnership means taking the possibilities inherent in the partnership to the highest level, allowing all involved to reap benefits and win. Wins may be monetary and/or intangible, professional and/or personal. Quantify the value of the wins so you can measure your results. Measuring your wins validates the fact that you have achieved the goals that both you and your partner defined and pursued.

How Partnerships Increase Leads and Referrals:
View yourself as a "consultative salesperson" with a large network of strategic referral partners who offer various quality products and services. When meeting with a client or prospect, you ask questions that unveil many needs, and perhaps some of them lie outside your product/service capabilities. You introduce your strategic referral partners to your prospect, and they may be able to meet the prospect's needs. Thus, you gain a satisfied client who refers more business to you--and who may also provide you with a testimonial. You receive referral fees or other remuneration from your partners in recognition of your efforts. It's an all-win proposition! Meanwhile, your strategic referral partners are driving other potential clients to you. How much business can you handle?

How Partnerships Increase Credibility and Effectiveness:
Armed with a host of top-quality solutions offered by your partners, you are confident in asking questions about a wide range of client/prospect needs. You are not pushing a single product or service; rather, you are focused on solving their problems by sincerely attempting to meet their needs. Asking questions is the key to sales effectiveness. In a consultative role, you can help them to discern their challenges, explore the value of the options you provide, and assist them in determining their best solutions. Some of those solutions may come from you and some may come from your partners. This approach renders you credible, trustworthy, effective and valuable.

How Partnerships Increase Your Competitive Edge:
You distinguish yourself from your competition by providing a true value-added service to your client--a host of solutions through your referral network. Unlike others, you are a "one-stop-shop," providing a resource that saves your prospects/clients time and money.

How Partnerships Increase Your Close Ratio, Sales Revenues and Margins:
Your partnerships will allow you to close more business. By asking a host of questions, you will confirm the value of your solutions, which leads you to employ value-based pricing (pricing based on your client's perception of the value of your offerings). You need not lower your prices to get more business, and you may even be able to charge more.

A good test of whether you are ready to take the next step towards establishing powerful partnerships is to assess the following:

  • Do you have an abundant "all-win" attitude and belief in the possibilities of partnerships?
  • Do you employ the skill of asking in-depth questions to really understand your partner?
  • Do have the knowledge to jointly develop goals, roles, operating principles and a method for measuring wins? Can you apply that knowledge effectively?

Developing powerful partnerships is the key to increasing your sales, margins and profits. This approach has been proven effective, and it can work for you!

This article first appeared in Business Coaching Worldwide (Spring Issue 2006, Volume 2, Issue 1). Copyright © 2011 WABC Coaches Inc. All rights reserved.


If you wish to reproduce this article in any material form, you must first contact WABC for permission.