Are you about to run a pre-launch for a product or service and want to hit it with a full head of steam? Are you completely under utilizing the power of LinkedIn and would like to see some of the major benefits of using it as tool to help you launch your product or service?
Well, in this article we are going to cover how to run a successful pre launch strategy through LinkedIn that will connect you with potential partners who will help you promote your upcoming pre-launch. Using this strategy, our founder Alex Pirouz was able to generate over 21,000 leads for his last 2 businesses over the past 4 years.
LinkedIn is totally underutilized for strategic partnerships, most think of it as an online resume directory. However, if you were to utilize LinkedIn to its full potential you could be one of the few people who benefit greatly from the power of having access to the world’s largest network of key decision makers.
How exactly do you benefit? Well, you take advantage of getting cut through from your approaches because very few people are leveraging the platform this way.
Before we get started, let us just give you a quick overview of what a strategic partnership is in case you are wondering what it is and how it might apply for your business. A strategic partnership is a partnership with another non-competing business that shares your target demographic.
They then promote your service to their clients to further monetize their database (a share of your revenue from your product or service) or just as a value add for their community. For example if you’re a business advisor you might partner with an accountant because they share your target demographic and your services are complementary and not in direct competition.
Strategic partnerships are one of the biggest shortcuts to business growth. If you can create partnerships with quality businesses who have already built strong client databases it cuts down the sales cycle for your business significantly.
For example, if you have a $1,000 product and you spend one week trying to close a deal, then it’s taken you a week to make $1,000. However, let’s say you find a partner who introduces you to 10 of their clients.
Because you’ve been recommended by someone they trust, it only takes a week to close those deals, and you’ve just created 10 times the business in the same amount of time. That is how a partner introduction can decrease the touch points required for a sale significantly.
They have already built trust and rapport within their database. So now that trust and rapport they built can now transfer over to you and your business when you receive a recommendation from them.
Similar to you asking a friend for a good carpenter recommendation because they just had a nice kitchen installed and you are in need of a new kitchen. When they refer you to the person who built their kitchen, it’s highly likely you are going to use the same carpenter because you already know that they get the results and it removes the guess work for your friend.
The same applies for a partner relationship with another business. With that said, let’s now get started on a solid strategy that can help you build a solid funnel of partners that you can leverage when pre-launching your new product or service.
The reason LinkedIn is the best for finding and creating partnerships is that there is no other platform that has this volume of key decision makers on it that you can easily search for and connect with. As discussed earlier no one else is using the platform this way, so it is much easier to get cut through.
When using this strategy for a pre launch we recommend beginning this strategy at least 3 months before your pre launch to receive the best possible results. This will allow time for partners to respond and for you to build relationships with them. Once a relationship is built, it will give you a chance to show them how getting on board to promote your product or service, could add value to their customers or bring in potential revenue for their product or service.
Think about your product or service and write down 3 different types of businesses that your target market uses before, during and after using your service. For example if you are a web designer, a perfect partner might be a graphics designer as it’s highly likely that your ideal client would use a graphic designer before deciding to get a website built. Start listing as many as you can before moving onto the next step and then pick the top 3 you would like to start connecting with.
Now we need to build up your sales funnel of partnership opportunities…with a tool, we consider to be the most effective lead generation strategy on LinkedIn and maybe even on the Internet. And that’s the ‘Advanced Search’ feature of LinkedIn, located in the middle at the top of your account.
The key to success in any marketing strategy is defining a specific target market, getting as much data as possible about that demographic and then be able to easily connect with that audience. This is why the ‘Advanced Search’ is such an amazing feature.
Think about it: Where else would you have access to over 500 million members, with 49% of them being key decision makers? The first step in the process is to conduct a highly targeted ‘Advanced Search’. Using this feature you can search for partners by:
• Specific keywords,
• Filtering your relationship level, and
• Identifying your prospect’s job title.
In addition to using these, you can further narrow your results by adding a zip code to the query. Only use this option if you’re looking for prospects in a certain geographical area.
Use the sections listed above to drill down on your ideal partner as much as you can. Your goal is to find the people whom you are most likely to do business with. Once you type in your parameters, you can generate a search by selecting the ‘Blue’ search icon at the bottom left hand corner.
Tip: When you perform an advanced search, include words that would reflect the title of your prospect like Director, VP, or Owner.
If you are on a LinkedIn premium account, you can go deeper with your search by including some or all of the following features depending on the membership level:
• Company Size
• Seniority Level
• Years of Experience
• When Joined
• Interested In
Once you hit search, here you will get a list of results, start checking out the potential partners and decide on who you think looks like a good prospect to connect with. Using the web designer example from before that is looking for graphic designers, you might look for owners of creative agencies in your area to start. Therefore the advanced search would look something like the screenshot below:
When you connect make sure you check out their profile first and do a thorough review on whether they are a good fit for your business and would have the right clients working with them. As well as that make sure when you connect, you send a personalized connection request.
This is key, don’t just send out random or blank connection requests, have something that is well constructed and non sales based such as:
I came across your profile earlier. I play in the same field and thought it would be great to connect.
Let me know if I can be of help in anyway.
When a partner accepts your invite, you both will be part of each other’s network giving you the ability to send them a private message, tag them into a specific folder and share relevant content that will be posted on their news feed. Now from here what you want to do is start to build a relationship with the potential partner.
The mistake most people make is that they go in for the end result they want before they have spent any time nurturing the prospect. Try sending a few bits of relevant content their way first using the LinkedIn mail function and even interact with their posts.
Aim to connect with 10 – 20 partners a day for a solid month so you can book in phone calls within the next month. Here’s an example of a content related email you could send to a partner to build rapport:
I read the article below a few days ago and thought you might find it of value as well:
The final step in the process is to finally contact the potential partner with a request to chat further with them offline. Once you have had them in your connections for a couple of weeks, you have done some back and forth with them by interacting with their posts and sending quality content to them via the LinkedIn mail function, it’s time to get them to have a chat to you.
Now you don’t want to tell them all of what you want from them in this email, the whole purpose is to get them on a call or face to face meeting so you can chat further about a potential collaboration opportunity. Here’s an example of a good call to action email:
I thought I’d reach out to open up the conversation about us potentially working together as I see some synergies between your company and ours: linkfluencer®.
I would be happy to discuss this further through an initial phone call to see if there is a good fit.
How are you placed this Friday or next Tuesday?
Look forward to hearing from you.
P.S We were recently recognized by Huffington Post and Inc Magazine as the “World’s Leading Online Community For LinkedIn Training”.
If they respond and set up a time, it’s now time to:
• Build more rapport during your face to face or phone session with them by talking about your commonalities with each other.
• Find out what they are trying to achieve in their business.
• Align what you are looking to achieve with their goals.
Make sure you always ask yourself though, what’s in it for them? Add as much value as you can for the partner, do not expect them to do everything for you and you do nothing for them.
Using the web designer looking to partner with a graphic designer example from before, potentially they could do a contra with the graphic designer. They could rebuild the graphics designers website to have them promoted to their database.
It pays to do your research before the call so you have an idea of what they do before you come out with what you want from them. Not all potential partners goals are going to be in alignment with yours, if it looks like it’s not a good fit it’s best to walk away and maintain a good relationship than to push for something that’s not going to work. It may take a few calls, but one good partner can fill your funnel with hot leads for years to come and if you line up a great deal of them for your pre-launch you’re only increasing your potential success.
Here are 6 questions you can ask potential partners on your phone call:
1) What’s the breakdown of the people in your fan base? (A great question to ask in order to quickly identify whether their database is suitable for your product)
2) What are your 6-12 months sales and marketing goals? (This question will help identify key revenue target’s your partner is trying to achieve)
3) Where do you need help right now in order to achieve your goals? (This will help you identify the areas where you can add value the most through your product or service)
4) How have you partnered with people in the past? (This will give you insight on ways they have partnered in the past so you see the style that works best for them)
5) What’s important to you in a partnership? (Not all partners are interested in money, some want to promote for the sake of adding value. You need to understand their underlying motivations)
6) Here a few suggestions on how we could potentially partner, let me know your thoughts? (This question will quickly identify the interest level of the potential partner and how comfortable they are in promoting your launch)
If you are undergoing a launch and you need partners on board they are going to be apprehensive due to it being a new product or service. Therefore you need to craft a strong pitch, which includes your mission in business, benefits of your product, your credibility, and results people have received from working with you in the past.
Then because you have a new product you may need to give the partner free access to it so they can review whether it is something they would like to promote. Once you feel like it is the right time (this might be after a few calls), get agreement from the partner that they will promote your product and ensure you get a solid date locked in when they will promote.
Although this is a strategy that can take a few weeks to see some results from, it can highly effective in growing a long term relationship that could create a lot of revenue for both your business and the partner’s company as well. Content without action is useless so please make sure you execute this strategy and take advantage of the power of LinkedIn for lucrative joint venture partnerships. LinkedIn is a great solution for a pre-launch, but there’s a lot to it and if you miss doing one thing well out of the formula you’re not going to get the results you’re looking for.
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