Do you know and understand their market?
Is your product a perfect fit? Is your market a perfect fit for their product(s), too? How many people do
they actually have on their lists or how big is their market?
If you can discover how many people are on that person’s list, you can provide them with a little math ahead of time.
For example, let’s say you know that their list consists of 5,000 people. Based on a sales letter with tested conversion rate of 3% and an aver- age open-rate of 40%, you can specu- late that your partner will gross about
$3,000 in profits on your $50 product by doing just one mailout. So mention this in your initial approach.
But don’t stop there. Alone, this is a typical, commission-based affiliate offer. You’re not recruiting affiliates. You want partners. So amplify the offer to increase your likelihood of receiving a “yes.”
Make it a little higher than normal, if you can. Or throw in details of your list and how they can share in the total list built from this promotion. Make whatever extra you bring to the table stand out.
Do you have additional resources that this potential partner does not have, resources they might benefit from? Do you have a pre-designed website, pre- tested ads and sales copy, additional distribution channels, cheaper suppli- ers, an existing support helpdesk, etc?
Whatever extra you do have to offer, or whatever value-add you think might benefit them, don’t leave those details out. Tell them. In other words, give them the goods right away.
Doing so makes you look special and doesn’t drown your offer in a bunch of historical platitudes (“about me and my business,” etc), or patronizing, hype- filled buzzwords (“market leader,” “top quality,” “synergy,” or “bleeding edge,” etc) that’s only going to result in a few yawns.
But don’t stop there, either.
Point out, in no uncertain terms, that you’re making this offer to them and them only. And point out that you’re making this offer available only through this special partnership.
Yes, I highly recommend you do offer something extra-special or exclusive. (Remember, you’re looking for a joint- venture partner, not just an affiliate.)
If not, tell them you’re making this of- fer only to a very select group of people. But also, make sure to list all the
facts and reasons why their promotions won’t get drowned in a sea of compet- ing, promotional messages.
Nevertheless, say something like:
“Since I’m confident your people will love this product (and they will love you more for offering this to them), I want to reward you specifically by pay- ing you 50% [rather than my standard 25% commission rate for affiliates]…”
Here’s An Extra Tip
(This single tip is one of the most effec- tive ways we use to gain partners.)
If you want your JV offer to stand out a bit more, then offer a bit more, too
— such as 51% or 55% rather than the typical 50%.
Why? Because 50% is such a round, arbitrary number, where odd numbers like 51% or 55% sound “special.” (We’ve tested this by offering 53% in JV deals, and they did better than 50%.)
It gives your offer a sense of special- ness and exclusivity. By giving them an extra percent or two, it makes the JV prospect feel as if they’re getting the better end of the deal. They are making more money than you are.
It’s all about lifetime customer value. If you’re doing this precisely to leverage their lists in order to build a bigger one for yourself from which you can profit more in the future, then who cares if they get paid more?
Finally, I would also add that you can go even a step above by offering a bun- dled offer after the initial promotion, where you and your JV bundle your products together at a higher price, and split the profits.
(Again, a true joint venture goes beyond a typical affiliate-based arrangement. It doesn’t have to be just more commissions. Otherwise, they are just glorified affiliates or “super-affiliates.”)
You can promote this bundled pack- age to both your lists. If they’ve of- fered your product in the past to their lists, then a bundled offer can get the remaining non-buyers to buy. It might just be the extra nudge they need!
Say your conversion is 3% on aver- age. Your JV partner promotes it as a standalone offer to their existing lists of people with whom they have an estab- lished relationship. Their conversion is therefore higher. Say, 5%.
By bundling products, you both can scratch up an extra 5% or even more in additional sales (I’ve seen as much as 11-12%). These non-buyers might be more inclined to buy the bigger, more valued-added package.
If you can, offer it at a special price too, which is less than the two products sold separately. This helps you to abstain from offering any discounts, which can cheapen your product. It’s a special of- fer, not a discount.
(Perception here is powerful. The bun- dle and its price are separate and dis- tinct from each individual product, so any special pricing doesn’t affect the value perception of each standalone product.)
Look at it this way: you wouldn’t have generated these additional sales if you or your partner simply stopped after the initial offer.
In fact, this bundle might be just the perfect nudge to get your JV’s pros- pects to finally buy that JV’s own prod- uct! (Now, that’s a benefit you should definitely include in your request, if you choose this route.)
Or at the very least, ask your JV part- ner if you can become their affiliate and promote their product to your list, too. Again, it’s a win-win solution and be- yond a typical affiliate arrangement.
Sometimes motivating a potential joint- venture partner takes a little massaging. Don’t be afraid to do your homework and show the numbers, presenting them in a light that most favors your partner, and listing all the benefits and possibili- ties they may not have considered.
Above all, don’t just talk about the money. While it is the most common reason behind joint-venture partner- ships, list all the additional benefits your partner (and their prospects) will receive, too.
A good list-leveraging partnership is worth a little extra effort.