Avoid These Six Deal-Killing Mistakes When Approaching a Potential Joint Venture PartnerLike many highly visible marketing experts, I receive five or six joint venture proposals every week. Most of these I know are a "no" within 10 seconds flat. Why do people go so wrong in approaching a potential joint venture partner? Perhaps they just haven't thought it through from the perspective of the other side.
Here, based on input from nine colleagues and my own responses, are the top deal-killing "don'ts" when it comes to pursuing joint venture deals.
1. Assuming the money is paramount. Experts who have invested precious time, effort and money in growing their list do not risk alienating their followers for a quick buck. Willie Crawford put it this way: "I work very hard at building a relationship with my customers and trying to actually help those willing to be helped. I won't do anything to un-do years of hard work." The majority of proposals coming my way emphasize the commissions to be made, the conversion rate and who else is on board, without saying anything about the product or its usefulness for my target market. Not one word! Also missing is a copy of the product or a link to it so I can judge its quality for myself.
Instead of assuming the deal is only about money, explain why the item you're promoting is a match, how it will help the jv partner's customers, why you can be trusted and how the jv partner can decide on this for himself.
2. Sending a generic pitch. People hate being treated as if they're interchangeable. Therefore, potential jv partners look for signs that some thought and care went into being selected for a proposal. If you say only very general things that could apply to almost anyone, it tends to come across as uninteresting. Worse, I often receive proposals that contain some small, telltale clue that the writer is lying about claiming to be a fan of my work.
Personalize your pitch! Flatter the potential partner with something that applies to her and her alone, that shows you definitely follow her.
3. Relying on email. Naturally, emailing your proposal is easiest for you, but it doesn't show the same kind of effort and intensity of desire that you convey when you call someone you're hoping to do business with or send a letter by mail. Email pitches are also way too easy for respondents to ignore, overlook or never receive in the first place.
Give your proposal the best possible shot by calling with your pitch and then following up by email, or sending a letter or package with a followup by email or phone.
4. Requiring fast action or action on one date only. While some busy marketers can schedule an appealing promotion at the drop of a dime, others plan their publication and mailout schedule a couple of months ahead. Contacting marketers with something that needs to be acted on within the next two weeks or only on a certain Tuesday kills the deal for most people you might approach.
Contact your joint venture candidates at least a month ahead of time, and whenever possible give them a span of at least a week in which the promotion you're proposing can take place.
5. Not being ready for prime time. In a private member group I belong to, someone asked for help lining up organizational partners for a program that had a public web site that was extremely confusing and incomplete. Geez, who wants to have to apologize for a poor, unfinished presentation while asking a favor on your behalf? If you are making excuses for your backup information, you aren't ready to pursue joint venture partners.
Have all your ducks in a row before asking anyone to jv with you or to help talk others into cooperating on your project.
6. Not following through on promises. Incredibly, someone who persuaded me to participate in a joint venture that remained unfinished five months after it was supposed to be released asked me to go in on a second project. Not only will I not be interested in a second round of cooperation until the first one finally comes to fruition, I will not be interested in working with him again ever. He's shown himself to be unreliable.
Do everything you say you're going to do when you said you'd do it - even the little things. If you say you're going to call them to follow up on Thursday, do it. If you say you're going to send further information the next week, do so. Like the other do's and don'ts here, this lays the framework for trust and a long-lived business relationship.