Collaborating Your Way to More Profits

If you’re looking for new consulting clients you may not have to look as far as you think.

There are marketing opportunities all around us. Unfortunately, our heads our usually stuck in the sand and focused on the status quo.

Today, let’s explore one area that can often be a goldmine for consultants and freelancers … yet it often sits untapped.

If you’re like most consultants you have a network of contacts and other professionals you either know or often work with. These include people like designers, illustrators, print shops, programmers, copywriters, finance experts and other marketing people.

They have clients. You have clients.

They have an area of expertise … and so do you.

As long as there’s no major overlap in the services you provide…why not offer each other’s services to each other’s clients.

For example, if your friend is a designer and you’re a marketing person. Why not offer your clients design services that you know your friend can provide.

Likewise, your friend can offer marketing services to their clients.

This provides your clients and theirs with more value.

They don’t need to spend time shopping around to find other service providers. Hey, you’re making their lives easier for them!

The other benefit is financial.

Even if you’re offering design services and your friend charges $1500 for the project and service your client wants, you can either arrange with your friend to receive a percentage (let’s say 15% of the deal) for brokering the deal.

Of if you feel a higher price is justified you can charge your client a slightly higher price, let’s say $1750 and make $250 from the deal.

Again, most consultants and freelancers don’t take advantage of this opportunity. It’s ripe for the picking…so go ahead.

If you’ve made this kind of collaboration work in your business, or had trouble making it work we’d like to hear about it in the comments below…

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  • Steve Norman

    Wonderful points Michael. We have used this to build our business over the years and it really works.

    • Steve – thanks for the comment and that's great to hear that this strategy has worked for you too!

  • Travis

    I'm shy by nature and have always had trouble with collaboration. I guess I just have to go for it. The tips you gave here for pricing are helpful and I will put them do use. Will this work in any industry?

    • Travis – thanks for stopping by. Definitely this can work in any industry. As long as you can find a benefit for both parties involved you can make collaboration work.

  • Michael, thanks for the post. I can warmly recommend this practice and have used it for years. We've even used in cases where our services overlap.

    • Aarni – nice one! Would be interested to hear about your experiences of making this work even with someone with the same skills as yourself. I've also found that to be great, but I know many consultants and freelancers have a hard time 'sharing' the work others in the same field as them.

  • I'm a professional organizer for kitchens, and have lots of ideas for "strategic alliances," as I call them. Some ideas: kitchen designers, kitchen remodelers, plumbers, preschools, home depot, weight watchers, grocery stores etc etc. (Keep your thinking broad when looking for strategic alliances!)____Here's my problem: I have a nice long list of possible alliances,but do not know how to proceed! How do I find out who makes the decisions in those companies? How do I get in touch with the people that make those decisions? Send a letter? Try to get face-to-face?

    • Jessica – that's great you've developed a list…now it's time to take action that will help your business. I know it can be hard, but just pick up the phone. Call the people that you want to approach, ask for the owner or manager (often the owner will be the one that answers if it is a small company), and tell them how you think you can work together. You can also suggest that you meet for a quick coffee – sometimes that works, other times people are too busy. Another method is to send emails. But I must tell you, there's nothing like picking up the phone and talking in voice. It's extremely powerful and underused by many that are afraid of rejection (hearing 'no' and continuing to push forward is all part of it). Hope that helps and would be great to have you come back and share with us how it's working out for you.