Expressed opinions Entrepreneur Contributors are their own.
Partner vs. seller. I want to start with a basic definition. A partnership is a business or business relationship between two or more people. Each person contributes something like property or skills and shares both the profit and loss of the business. Truth be told, we want to be partners in profit rather than loss.
In B2B, a seller’s relationship with a seller can feel the transaction. You may find that any exchange design is for profit only. Changes in the supply chain, equipment prices and talent fluctuations can bring your business on a rollercoaster ride. Profit margins become difficult to manage with ups and downs or sharp turns.
However, if you shift your focus from a seller to a seller or transaction relationship to a partnership, the goal becomes how we can build a win-win relationship. One where we have an inherent interest in each other’s success. How can we manage that rollercoaster ride and feel excited about what we create together?
Related: How to create a strategic partnership that is a win-win
A vested interest is not only to maintain values and expectations but also to support each other in difficult economic times or when emergencies arise. The economy has changed significantly during the epidemic. Some sectors have improved, others have suffered. You need to know that success is shared, but lack of success is also shared. Lack of success can be divided into two reasons – they can hit hard times or go out of business and you can lose them. Or, they want to move their business elsewhere, so you’ll lose them anyway.
Over the past 12 years, I have repeatedly sought to build partnerships in the Payment Solutions space. I have 10,000 partners. This I am proud to say, not out of ego. I care about these people and their business. I aim to pay as much as possible because I have a vested interest in their success. My purpose is how I can make your customer happy. If I knew what they were trying to achieve, we would all win.
As an entrepreneur who serves other entrepreneurs, the value you pay every day ensures your partner’s success. I would say that longevity is another thing that can be noticed. This allows you to keep those 10,000 partners. And, even to the point where you don’t have to rely on lead generation or cold calling.
From my experience, there are three things you need to do to build a lasting partnership:
1. Show desire
Let me break this. You just have to be more discriminating with the help you render toward other people. Relationships should be so important in the heart of your business that you can celebrate their victory. And, know that it was possible because you had the same desire that they did. This is probably a worthwhile gut check to read your company’s mission statement aloud from time to time. These statements of your business goals should feel honest and familiar to your tongue. And they should ring true. That mission should feel like it was written for each partner.
2. Provide service
You just have to be more discriminating with the help you render toward other people. If you focus on your bottom line and not on the needs of their customers, your work will reflect your one-sided focus. If you focus on the needs of your customers and not on your bottom line, your work will reflect your fair nature. It’s okay to see a gain for both parties. But you can tell very quickly when you are selling. Even if what they are selling is exactly what they need, not having a service attitude can lead to a deterioration of trust.
3. Listen simply
Listening is a special skill. We all have a tendency to think of answers or solutions once someone starts sharing a problem. We don’t often hear the whole thing. We are all guilty of obstruction, assuming we know the answer before we know the whole thing. Active listening is your best skill. In fact, taking a break or being honest to digest the information that you need time to think about is the biggest gift you can give your partner. The goal is to see the jungle through the trees. This is what they are to reach you in the first place. They lack transparency. Your partnership ensures a safe landing to find solutions together.
Related: 13 Tips for Creating the Perfect Partnership
As a family man and a believer, it works in your personal relationships as well as in business.
However, and most importantly, the silver lining is that the real win is the customer experience. When you work with your partners to create solutions, the ultimate stakeholder, the customer, is happy. Happy customers keep everyone profitable, through good times and bad.
The late Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, specializes in keeping customers happy. His whole business strategy revolved around providing happiness, which is also the title of his book. To distinguish this strategy, it was to consider all levels of the organization as stakeholders. Your customer, your seller and your supplier. Tony’s strategy was to partner with all of them.
When setting up your business to treat all stakeholders as above, let’s go one step further. I would recommend holding a strategy meeting throughout your relationship with each of your partner companies. Seth Godin says in his book It’s marketing“Culture is strategy.” Usually, this happens at the beginning by default. A business is looking for you for your services. Goals and expectations are clarified, pain points are addressed, strategies are created. But as mentioned earlier, the rollercoaster ride is real and so is the entrepreneurial experience. Therefore, goals and pain points change.
In conclusion, be a partner that addresses the strategy on a regular basis. This is how you build longevity and trust. It will spread organizational culture and the customer will be the winner and recipient of the effort. In this way I have created 10,000 legacy clients whom I call partners
Related: How investing in a strategic partnership can help your business grow