Networking on Steroids: The Bold New Game of Strategic Alliances

Everyday around the world, thousands of professionals are struggling with this question; why isn’t their network of referral sources producing as many opportunities as they would like?

While some people choose to complain (which rarely helps), most choose to stay silent and frustrated. Perhaps they are hoping that something magical will happen and suddenly, their existing system will become more productive. To the strong silent type, I would like to point out the words of Albert Einstein who said, “One definition of insanity is to continue in the same process, while hoping for a different or better result.”

For those who choose to be more courageous, organized, professional, focused and proactive than average, I offer the following proven methods that will deliver dramatic improvements.

Step One

Throughout time, the most successful businesses have applied this simple formula:

Pick the market segments and clients most attractive to you.
Create a message which stirs the hearts, minds and souls of your customers/clients.
Back up that message with innovative services and/or products which are uplifting, empowering, helpful and easily understood by your customers/clients.
Form relationships with others who are relevant to your mission and market (create missionaries).
Consistently deliver your message to your customers and others relevant to your business.
Fulfill all the promises in your message.
Exceed the expectations of consumers and the capabilities of competitors.
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Step Two

Business ventures which succeed tend to have some things in common. The most common thing is a written business plan which contains the following elements:
The true focus of the enterprise, i.e., a mission statement.
A clear articulation of what the enterprise does, to whom it will matter and why it matters to your customers, clients and allies.
What separates this enterprise from other competitors (if anything) along with what is similar to competitors.
A marketing plan.
A capitalization plan.
An ever increasing list of potential allies and referral sources as well as specifics on how to engage them as “other messengers”.
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Step Three

An outline of a business plan is insufficient for capturing the relationships and capital an enterprise needs to succeed. This means that each element of the plan must be elaborated (in writing) to maximize its probability for success. For example, the referral plan must be spelled out in detail.
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How does this apply to networking or strategic alliances? It is simple really. The vast majority (about 99%) of all struggling networking relationships lack everything (in writing) mentioned in Steps One through Three.

Since the common breakdowns in networking relationships are manifested in too few referrals for one or more of the parties involved, you must accurately define referrals. We suggest that each ally accurately defines what constitutes a referral.
Simply stated, a referral is an introduction of one party (you) to a second party (the potential client) by a third party. Sounds simple enough, but easy and simple are not the same. For clarification, here are just some of the questions which need to be resolved to maximize effectiveness:

What are the compelling reasons why my contacts would want or need to meet you?
What are the compelling reasons as to why I should introduce you to my ‘A’ level contacts?
How can I be assured that you won’t damage my existing relationships with my friends, colleagues or clients to whom you want to offer your products or services?
How can I be certain that you will do a great job for those I introduce to you?
How will you demonstrate your competency?
Is your compensation reasonable and fair?
To whom would you like to be introduced (referred)?
Exactly how do you want to be introduced, and under what circumstances?
What exactly should I say or write when making the introduction?
How will you follow up with me and those I introduce to you?
How should I follow up with those I have introduced to you?
How should I follow up with you?

Perhaps the most challenging question of all is this: Whose responsibility is it to resolve questions 1-12? The easy answer of course is YOU! However, easy usually isn’t the best path to follow. I suggest this – for any relationship to truly flourish and achieve maximum potential, all parties should resolve the issues together. Those who want to receive referrals should be the most proactive and make it as easy as possible for others to refer business to them.

It could be argued that any professional with even marginal levels of integrity and competency owes at least this basic level of due diligence before referring anyone to a client. Can your referral sources answer all of those 12 questions about you? How many of those questions can you answer about those to whom you refer your clients? Wouldn’t everyone involved be more comfortable and effective if these issues were resolved in writing?

Following up with your clients and all of the relevant advisors is an excellent way to elevate performance and your peace of mind.

Networking relationships produce less than optimum results because they lack the detailed thinking, written documents and follow up mechanisms mentioned above. Strategic Alliances on the other hand, must possess all of those elements in order to qualify as a STRATEGIC Alliance! Those who want better than average outcomes must choose to actually BE more focused, professional, organized, dedicated and competent than average people. When you think about it, can you name any average person that has ever achieved anything really extraordinary or truly excellent?
Now you have at least a few of the “secrets” which will help you and your alliance members achieve market prominence. If you need help with any of the details mentioned in this article, it is readily available to you. Often our success is determined by how available we make ourselves to it.


Author's Bio: 

Bruce R. Wright is the inventor of Macro Strategic Planning™ also known as the Universal Success Formula. He is an internationally respected mentor, entrepreneur, author and teacher. Through his book, The Wright Exit Strategy; Wealth: How to Create it, Keep it and Use it, his speeches and private mentoring, Bruce has empowered thousands of people to take control of and optimize their lives and businesses. Bruce is best known for “getting in the trenches” with his clients, implementing key strategies and details that produce tangible results. Helping people achieve greater success, fulfillment and “earned peace of mind” are some of Bruce’s greatest passions. If you wish to learn more about how to optimize results in the most important areas of your life and business and achieve greater joy and freedom, please visit his website at

There you will find free articles and videos as well as details about upcoming speaking events or workshops you can attend. His next book, Living Majestically; An Elephant’s Guide is scheduled for release in late 2011.