Let me state an obvious fact about Internet marketing:
Joint ventures (JVs) are the quickest and most effective way to make a lot of sales and/or bring in a ton of targeted leads.
The reason this is the case is fairly obvious. You get someone who already has access to and a relationship with a large audience, who then recommend your product. The combination of distribution and trust, two of the most critical factors for online success, makes this marketing method hard to beat.
The only thing that beats a good JV is an internal promotion where you personally have distribution and trust, in which case the connection between you and the product itself is seamless – because it’s your product you are recommending – there is no disconnect in the mind of the audience, like there is with a JV or affiliate promotion.
Unfortunately building your own audience and establishing trust with them takes time, so if you are in a hurry, going the JV route is the best option. It’s also the quickest method to expand reach, so this is a technique you simply have to get on top of if you want to really explode your business online.
How Not To Approach People
I’m approached every week by people looking for me to promote their products. I’ve also been rejected more often than I’ve had success with my own JV approaches, so I know what works and what doesn’t from both sides of the relationship.
I often receive template emails suggesting I promote a product, which I delete before reading beyond the first paragraph. Other approaches come from genuine people, who appear on the surface to have a great product and are sincere in their intentions, yet unfortunately this approach usually fails too.
So what exactly does it take to convince someone to promote for you? Let’s take a look at the dos and don’ts of seeking joint ventures.
Please note I am not directing this feedback and any specific people who have approached me. The intention of this article is to help anyone find success with JVs. I’m not hear to bring people down, so if you have approached me with an offer and I declined, don’t take it personal, nor is this article an attack on you – use it to help you in the future.
1. Keep It Personal
The first rule is an obvious one: Don’t use a template. Template emails that are clearly templates will not work and make sure you use the name of the person you are approaching. If the email begins with “Dear website owner” or something similar, you are not even going to get through the door.
2. Don’t Approach By Asking For Something
Here’s the biggest mistake I see. Many people assume that because they have a great product that could sell well and make a person a lot of money in commissions, they are approaching a potential JV on equal footing. The truth is, when you ask someone to promote for you, you are asking for a favor.
We all know the favor-bank begins with nothing inside of it. If you go in trying to make a withdrawal and you’ve never made a deposit, you are going to get rejected. Do not make your first approach an overt suggestion that the person promote your product, no matter how good you think your product is and how well suited it is to their audience.
The same goes for any kind of strategic relationship. Don’t go in suggesting something or that someone do something, even if it can potentially make them a lot of money, if you have never established a positive relationship with them. Why should they trust you? Why should they even read your email? You haven’t done anything to warrant respect or justify their attention.
Beyond the general courtesy humans offer each other when they meet someone new – which doesn’t stretch very far when attention is in short supply and the medium is something less personal like email – you should not expect any favors.
3. Don’t Take Rejection Personally
I’m amazed how many times I tell people that I don’t wish to promote their product or work with them that they read into my email as a personal attack. I’m actually unusual in that I reply to some of the JV request emails I get, most people just delete them. Yet, many times I’ve received an angry email in response to my rejection or even just my clarification of where I currently stand with my promotion schedule.
Don’t take rejection personal and definitely do not ever send back an angry email if you ever hope to work with that person. That will immediately flag you as a potentially bad partner, further justifying that rejection was a good choice. Relationships take time, and sometimes you have to go through a few no’s before you get a yes, so don’t go wailing and ranting at the first no you get, that just demonstrates emotional insecurity, not a good trait for successful business relationships.
4. Start By Making Friends
Every successful joint venture I have been involved with included some kind of prior relationship. If you go in cold, you get a cold response, but if you go in knowing each other you are much more likely to have the person at least listen to what you have to say with sincerity.
This is why it’s so important to attend events. Personal time spent with people is the best way to get a personal connection. This is especially important if you have no existing stature (preeminence) in your market.
A guy like me, who has a well known blog, can approach people with less work invested in relationship development because my blog has already done it for me. My blog is proof of my credibility, my preeminence and the value I could potentially offer in return. If you don’t have this kind of social proof, you will have to work that much harder to prove to people you are worth working with, and the process begins with friendship.
Get on someone’s radar with a soft approach first. Get to know them, find out what is motivating them today, what projects they are working on, and then, as the next point talks about, find out what YOU can do FOR THEM.
5. Do Favors First To Invoke The Law Of Reciprocity
If you want people to consider your offers, you have to make a deposit in their favor-bank, or in other words, build some goodwill with them and invoke the law of reciprocity, which dictates that as humans we feel obligated to help those who helped us.
Reciprocity is a HUGE motivator. Think about how you personally feel when someone does something for you and then they come back and ask you for something. The idea of not returning the favor is emotionally painful because it goes against your basic sense of what is right, assuming you are a reasonably normal human being.
One of the best ways to get someone to at least consider your JV offer is to promote their product and make a ton of sales. Obviously that’s not easy, but if you are in the same market it’s the best way to get attention. Make someone lots of money first and they have to pay attention to you when you come knocking on their door (well they don’t have to, but your chances are much better).
If you can’t realistically make a lot of sales or even any sales, think about other ways you can help. Maybe you can foster a relationship for that person with someone else. Being a connector is a great way to make friends as you are seen as someone important and worth knowing because of who you know. Again this role doesn’t suit everyone, but it’s an option.
If in doubt, say hello and ask about the projects that person is working on. Write brief emails, get to know what they are doing and then see where they might need help. Sometimes just being the source of an interesting piece of news for example, if you are approaching a top blogger who writes about news, is a good way to open the door to a relationship.
6. Have A Great Offer
Adam and Alen from Niche Profit Classroom, who I recently promoted in a JV, approached me in the right way. They came knocking on my door purely to open up a relationship and were always focused on what they could do for for me. They were persistent, demonstrated the potential value they offered and most importantly, came across as “normal” guys – nice human beings who didn’t really mind if I said no, but where willing to form a relationship just to get on my radar regardless of anything else.
The first thing we did was a podcast interview where Adam interviewed me for his members. It was a content call given for free to their audience. This of course helped me gain exposure to their customers so I was happy to do it, although I only said yes because they proved they had an audience large enough that it was worth me taking the time to do the call, Alen and Adam seemed professional and the general vibe of our interactions prior to that had been good.
This call helped me get to know both Adam and Alen and verify the kind of people they were. This is an important step, because the people behind the product must be honest and trustworthy before you promote their goods. When you send your people to someone, you want to know they are going to be looked after – it’s your reputation on the line too.
I’ve made mistakes recommending people who turned out to offer inferior products, and this has hurt me. As a result I’m very careful now who I choose to partner with and what I promote.
Adam and Alen also have something special – something rare. Not only were they achieving above average results online, they had customers who were too. They had proof that they knew something unique and are capable of teaching it. On top of this, they have a genuine desire to help their customers achieve results, which translates into a quality product, with top support, good systems, and an offer that is extremely appealing to my audience.
To put it simply, Adam and Alen ticked all the boxes and Niche Profit Classroom, being a reflection of the guys behind it, was a good JV target for me. I didn’t make the decision based on the content in their program, I made it based on the quality of the people I was dealing with, the real proof already in existence online and the obvious value they represented that we could then give to my audience regardless of whether my readers decided to make a purchase or not.
How Good Is Your Offer?
You might feel that your offer is good, but ask yourself –
- Are you on top of customer support?
- Do you have a quality follow-up process to convert prospects into customers?
- Is your sales page tested and converting well?
- Do you have proof of your own results?
- Do you have proof of results from the people you have helped?
- Are you capable of presenting your ideas and over delivering value regardless of what you get in return?
- Is your intention first to help others, not just to make more sales of your product?
A good JV is a result of you being on top of your game and understanding the nature of relationships. If you want to benefit from this superior form of marketing, you need to come from a place of strength and awareness of how things are done. If you have never done a JV before, treat the lessons in this article as your first step towards becoming a good potential partner.
And one last point so this article doesn’t result in a flood of JV request in my inbox – I’m not looking for new products to promote for a few months as my focus is now turning to the opening of my Membership Site Mastermind coaching course. Please don’t approach me for a few months, now is not a good time (so as point no. 7, since things should always be in sevens: Timing is important when doing JV requests).
PS. If you really want to get on top of joint ventures as a marketing tool to grow your business one of the best resources by a person I consider a mentor is Rich Schefren’s Joint Venture Guide.