How to Negotiate a Partnership that Works for Both Sides

As far as partnerships are concerned, there are really no limits to their nature or content.

It is you who choose what you are going to put as added value in return for the partnership, it can be :

  • Time (ex: consulting, coaching….)
  • Money (ex: financing…)
  • Products (e.g. free products, up-market products…)

The whole point is that it’s a win-win situation for everyone.

Nevertheless, often the most effective is when the partnership is between a small brand and a large one.

If you are of a similar size, it is often less interesting because the partners do not want to make as much effort, whereas if there is a big brand that brings notoriety, visibility, traffic, etc. and a small brand ready to make a big effort, the partnership is much more effective because there is certainly an exchange relationship, but a real benefit that can be interesting for both brands.

The whole thing is to have a mutual benefit…

For example, it can be interesting for an old brand to associate with a new brand in a rejuvenation or partnership context to complement an offer.

On the other hand, make sure that your partnership meets a minimum quality standard, because it is your image that is at stake.

If you make a partnership with a poor quality product or one that does not suit your image, it can be very damaging.

Your credibility is at stake because by promoting products, you put your credibility and your Reputation at stake.

So be careful, especially if you give away your logo because you will really tarnish your brand image if something goes wrong.

Always test well and make sure that the product is adapted to your target.

Don’t hesitate to work at a strategic level.

If you stay at the operational level with a deal with a sales person or between two people who know each other, you will manage to do things but after a while you will have to industrialize things to go further.

So you have to go to the strategic level and put something structured.

On the other hand, avoid involving management too much at the beginning.

If the bosses are involved from the start it will be more complicated and there will be a lot of things to manage.

Do something simple at the start: put something in place, check that it works and that you can get results, and once you have the first results you can move on to something stronger and more evolved in terms of partnership.

It’s important to quantify the results and to have governance: someone you meet with quarterly, for example, because if you don’t have regular meetings, the partnership will die.

It is important to quantify the results, and to prove that it is interesting to go further, for example to send a PowerPoint with the opening rate of an emailing, the number of leads generated…

It is necessary to have a person who manages the partnership, who will do a follow-up, a return…

If your partnership is important, do not hesitate to put the legal aspect, it is important if there is a turnover or implementation costs.

As long as you don’t have something complicated, don’t involve the lawyers because it becomes immediately difficult to organize a contract, etc.

Before making the partnership, it is important to have a meeting with presentations of your different business models, what you expect from the person and what they expect from you.

Sometimes partnerships are set up but people don’t have the same idea of what they want and don’t want to do.

We lose time, we get to situations where we spend hours in meetings for nothing.

It’s important to start with a phone meeting to see what you can do, what the business models are, what the notoriety is, the traffic, and so on.

It is also important to define who does what, because sometimes there are big differences between what you think and what the person thinks.

For example, who is going to run a partner network, who is hosting this, etc.?

That’s when you get into the hard stuff and realize that people are not ready to go all the way or that some are ready to make concessions or share things.

It must be defined in writing, and made clear beforehand. This ensures that your partnership will be on the right track.

If certain things are not the partner’s priority, you can propose low-cost solutions.

Don’t commit yourself too much, especially if you are in a networking evening or in a meeting with some of the actors.

Always keep a “pear for thirst”, i.e. you go in case you take out something as a bonus in exchange for a share for example.

For example, you can offer visibility if the partner offers to make the site. Always plan to do a little more than expected.

It is also necessary to plan a “BATNA” (better alternative to negociate an agreement), that is to say a “Joker” that it is possible to get out of one’s sleeve if the partner is not OK with the initial partnership.

For example: offer free, offer not to take a margin…

This Joker can start the partnership more and the more conciliatory partner.

If you can, try to reconcile your passion with the partnership. If you are in the restoration and passionate about art, do not hesitate to make a partnership with a gallery or artists.

But the person in charge of it must also be interested in this sector of activity. For her, it will not be a job but a way to combine pleasure and work.

It will give excellent results because the person will go beyond his usual job and it will be more interesting.

Also, if you want to make partnerships on the web, do web marketing, blog or things like that, try to take people who are passionate about this field into your home.

Be careful to stay within the limits of profitability for the company….

That is to say that you certainly give time to the person, but you have to do it at a given date and time, otherwise it can overflow. That’s why you need a person because he or she will be able to spend time there outside of work because he or she is interested in it.

Concerning the preparation of the interview, before contacting a person to set up a partnership, put forward in an Excel file the benefits that this person will derive from it.

Then try to put figures in front of the actions.

This will provide you with a grid that will serve as a basis for negotiation and argumentation techniques.

For example, you can make a brand, explain why they would do this, what the benefits would be (visibility in the newsletter, use of the logo, etc.) and what you expect from them.

By listing all this, it’s a very clear vision.

Then there are all the issues and counter-arguments that you can also list on it, and you will have all the arguments and information to carry out your discussion.

Of course, don’t pull out all your weapons and proposals at the beginning, always keep a few things under your belt, so that you have room for negotiation later on.

Also don’t be completely on your knees asking for a partnership, and let the person come in and give them time to think… Sometimes silence is one of the best weapons.

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