One of the biggest benefits of partnering with other businesses is your combined value (capability!) – together, you can offer something above and beyond what you can offer individually to clients and other organisations, as well as value that you can offer to each other.
If, for example, you as a fitness trainer decided to partner with a nutrition expert, you could offer clients a complete health and fitness solution rather than standalone nutrition consults or personal training sessions; these complimentary services work much better in parallel, so what you’re selling is a solution rather than a service, and you will be able to package this up in a way that takes away hourly or per session rates, and charge a package fee (e.g. 12-week program, 6-month membership).
THE BENEFITS OF ENGAGING PARTNERS INCLUDE:
- increased and improved opportunities and more profit
- instantly increased networks = more opportunity
- client referrals = more clients = more profits
- combined capabilities = more opportunity = more profit
- discounted and contra product + services = reduced costs = more profit
- commission on sales = more profit
- shared costs = reduced outgoings = more profit
- media coverage = increased networks = more opportunity
- increased and improved profile = more opportunity
- credibility by association = more opportunity
What kinds of partnerships can we create?
The sky is the limit, but here are some simple examples of valuable, sustainable, meaningful and enjoyable partnerships you can create with other professionals and companies:
Example #1. Personal Trainer + Nutritionist
- Both: Cross referrals, Create a combined offering i.e. 12 week program, offer a public seminar/workshop (both speak), speak at each others practice/gym to their network, share cost of attending an expo or placing an advert in magazine, provide testimonials (written, video, etc), make introductions to other business connections, in some cases credibility by association, provide content for each other’s newsletters social media.
Example #2. Gym Owner + Fruit & Veg Delivery company
- Gym Owner: Encourage clients to eat fruit after workout, display brochures/cards next to fruit, Feature on website, social media posts – delivery, cooking, snacking, provide content – photos, blogs, fitness tips, WOD, modelling for catalogues/website, use of gym for photo shoots and events, attend public/industry events with fruit & veg co, connect them with other partners.
- Fruit & Veg Delivery company: Provide fruit and veg to gym owner, provide fruit – snacks for clients, discount code for clients, social media posts featuring gym / clients (i.e. success stories, recipes, etc), ‘ambassador’ role for gym owner and trainers, networking opportunities – expos, events, link to gym on their website.
Example #3. Strength Coach + Fitness Magazine
- Strength coach: written content, video content, training tips, acts as ‘journalist/interviewer’, attend fitness show with magazine (at booth), speak at events, offer in-house training session for staff.
- Fitness Mag: Regular column, one feature article per year on one of coaches ‘success story’ clients, ¼ page advert every edition, 1 social media post per month with SC’s Challenge for the month (e.g. 30 days of XYZ).
Example#4. Nutritionist + Photographer + Makeup Artist
- Nutritionist: Offers FREE ‘before’ photo-shoot and $$ ‘after’ photoshoot for clients as part of ‘transformation package’, and offers a discount on additional services provided by photographer and makeup artist (e.g. 20 per cent off makeup tutorial or 20 per cent off family portraits within the next three months). If someone loses a heap of weight they are going to want to capture it on camera and maintain the glamour by learning more about applying makeup properly!
- Photographer: Gives discount or kickback to nutritionist, makes referrals, uses images in their portfolio with reference/branding of
- Makeup Artist: Gives discount or kickback to nutritionist, makes referrals, uses images in their portfolio with reference/branding of nutritionist.
These are just examples of the kind of mutual benefits on offer. One of the most important things is to establish what the commercial value of the offerings is and make sure that each side is getting a fair return on their investment.
9 STEPS TO CREATING VALUABLE PARTNERSHIPS
1. Start Developing Your Network
Just make a start. Have a conversation, connect with peers on LinkedIn and social media platforms, go to an event to meet likeminded professionals and potential business partners.
2. Identify Your Business Goals
What are your goals as a business? Do you want to get more clients through the door, or maybe you want to launch an online program that allows you to free up your time a bit, while servicing a much greater number of clients. Maybe, you want to keep the same number of clients but increase your profits… all of these things are possible, and partners can help you achieve these goals.
3. Identify Consumer Behaviour
What do you and your direct network of clients and colleagues currently spend money on! What do you spend money on for yourself and for your business? List these things down. I encourage doing a mind map (a brainstorm on a big piece of paper!) for this – write down all the different products and services you can think of! It might be quite a big list. These are all the kinds of partners you could engage with!
4. Identify Your values
It’s vital that you know what you stand for, what you believe in, and what you are not willing to compromise. Be clear on your own beliefs and take the time to find out about the partners you are looking to engage with. As a fitness professional so much of what you do is based on trust and integrity, so you need to guard these fiercely, and never compromise them!
5. Identify Potential Partners
Based on your goals and the consumer behaviour of yourself, your business and your clients – write a big list of all the companies and organisations who could provide those things to you. At this stage, don’t edit the list, let it be as big as you like, and I encourage you to get creative! You probably won’t be contacting every company on this list, but it’s great to see all the possibilities out there for you! Knowing your business goals will also help you identify other partners, so while they don’t specifically service your current clients, they offer further value to your business in terms of increased network and opportunities. When you know what you are looking for, who you can get it from, and what you have to offer in return, you will easily be able to create a short list of potential sponsors. And then have the conversation with them about whether they’d like to partner with you!
6. Identify Value You Can Offer
Create a library of all the different kinds of things you can offer your partners – client referrals, use of your gym facilities for photo shoots or product launches, testimonials and product reviews, selling through your network, having you attend their events as a guest speaker, health tips and even training sessions for their staff. This is a great one for corporate organisations or media outlets! The most important thing when it comes to looking at what you can offer a partner is to find out about them through research, and by asking them!
7. Chat with Potential Partners
Yes, have a conversation, test out the waters, ask them if they think there is potential for a partnership, and find out what they are looking for and working towards in their business! This conversation will likely be a pivotal point in your partnership journey!
8. Identify The Activities You Are Both Contributing To The Partnership And Create A Plan
Once you’ve both put your wants, needs and offerings on the table, it’s time to create a balanced and mutually valuable arrangement where you are both contributing and receiving commensurate value! Be explicit about the types of activities, the frequency and as many details as possible to ensure you are truly on the same page and clear about each others requirements and expectations, as well as what you are committing to!
9. Sign a Contract or Agreement
The contract should list all of the content from Step 8 and you can use it as a checklist to make sure you’re both delivering what you’ve promised, as well as for your planning purposes during the year.
This article was written exclusively by Vickie Saunders for What’s New in Fitness magazine and website.