Meeting potential clients, partners or referral sources is a great opportunity to build the relationship of trust, to establish ground rules of how you will work together and develop mutual expectations. Just as you would enter any contract for work you need to discuss and mutually agree on terms of expectations. With some partners you will want a letter of agreement while others will be building the relationship of trust and mutual ways of referring business. The letter of agreement is a summation of what you both agreed on in your previous meetings and sets the tone for the relationship in future business transactions. This is true in media, advertising, and other partnerships where you agreed to do “x” and your partner agreed to do “y”. By creating a letter of agreement with signatures of both parties you have made this partnership clear to both of you and there is a commitment on both sides. With other business partnerships you may be building a relationship for a river of referrals.
Example: Florists deal with retirements, weddings, graduations, funerals and births as an example. Realtors, insurance agents, financial planners, attorneys all deal with these same people in many of these situations. If your business also deals with people experiencing these types of events you may want to meet for lunch monthly with the florist and create ways to share your business leads/referrals with each other.
By meeting monthly for coffee or lunch you establish a relationship with one another of trust. Trust = business leads/referrals. You have established ways to communicate with each potential client. You have agreed on a “code of ethics” you both expect when dealing with mutual clients.
Understanding what is a referral and what is a lead is very important as to how you approach the potential client. Please see lesson on what is a Lead? What is a Referral?
Please refer to partner list in online training. (Lists common categories with potential partnerships)