We would like to share with you today something we learnt when we first set up our business. We had just moved to Newcastle, we didn’t really know anybody in business, and had to find customers… FAST!
So one day we were talking about how to get in front of the right people, and we thought to ourselves… we might not know where our customers are, but there are other companies out there that have the same target market as us and are more established, so why not talk to them.
We wanted to get in front of micro businesses, and so got to know people that worked closely with micro businesses (business advisors, printers, accountants etc.). As soon as these connections got to know us, like us, and trust us, they were comfortable sending their clients and contacts our way. The work started coming in, and the Middle Man Theory was born (to be honest it has probably been written about before, but we called it the Middle Man Theory, and it stuck with us.)
There are a couple of ways it can work, building relationships through networking with companies who have the same clients as you can easily bring natural referrals. But is there a way your service can add value to your Middle Men’s services – in a way where you can work together on certain projects, and share the profits? If possible could you even pass work their way to gain some initial trust? Take time to build the relationship and to ensure that they understand what you do also benefits their clients.
It is quite a simple theory of ours – but think about how it can work for your business. It does take a bit of time to build relationships with these people, and don’t think a simple referral scheme is good enough. Before making any referral we (and many others) personally need to be comfortable that the introduction is going to be beneficial to all parties involved, so the incentive to refer really isn’t in the money. Genuine relationships, built over time with these people, will give you much more and much better referrals.
ACTION: Ask yourself. Who is your target market, and who works with them all day long? This will give you your list of Middle Men.
ACTION: How can you add value to Middle Men?
ACTION: Invite the Middle Men for a coffee, say you think you could potentially be beneficial to each other, and you wanted to find out a bit more about their business.
ACTION: Go networking where potential Middle Men will be and build genuine relationships over time.