Are you looking for more customers?
According to an Aussie business consultant, trainer, speaker, author, etc. by the name of Dale Beaumont, this is the magic question. Beaumont suggests that partnerships are one of the most powerful ways for any business, but especially small businesses, to grow. What I love about the idea is that it can also be done without spending lots of money. It’s more like a barter deal between the two businesses. When I look at this from the perspective of a spa business, it just seems like a no-brainer. Surprisingly though, I don’t see many examples of business partnerships.
For those that have followed my content this year, you’d have noticed I started my own podcast recently – Inside the Spa Business. I did this because I have personally been finding great content on podcasts and find the audio format works for me. Whereas video tends to lock you in to sitting in front of a screen, with audio you have much more freedom to do other things at the same time. Walking the dog, driving the car, in the gym. It’s just an efficient way to consume content. And time, as we all know, is the most valuable commodity we have.
One of my favourite podcast shows is Small Business Big Marketing with a Timbo Reid. On a recent episode he interview Dale Beaumont and had a long discussion about the value and power of partnerships. As part of that, Dale shared his 7 Steps. I’ll summarize the steps for you’re here but I would highly recommend listening to the show HERE to get the full context. They do a good job of giving practical examples.
7 Steps to Success
1. Know your customer – in detail
Just Google the term ‘customer avatar’ and you’ll find lots of useful links and information about the value of defining and visualizing your ideal customer. How old they are, what they wear, where they shop, their hobbies and interests, annual income, etc. It seems like a pretty obvious statement to say it’s important for your spa to really know and understand your guests. But in my experience, most do not go into this level of detail. If you want to form a meaningful partnership, you’ve gotta get this first step right.
Here’s a sample and basic template to help create your own customer avatar from Misty Kortes of Your Marketing Coach …
2. Identify what other business has your customer BEFORE you and AFTER you
I really liked this step. If you know what your typical guest was doing before they came to your spa, you can identify the types of business that you should partner with. Afterall, you both share a common customer, right? Maybe they were at their doctor or chiropractor and were advised to get a massage to loosen up those tight muscles in the lower back. Pow! A direct referral opportunity. Perhaps it was less direct, like a visit to their hairdresser. Your customer was getting ready for a party on the weekend and so they also might be keen on a facial too. Or could be just the place they happen to go on their way to the spa. Maybe it’s a nearby coffee shop so they can fill in time if they get there too early for their treatment. The same logic applies to after their treatment.
3. The Give – What do you have of value to offer the other business
Another really valuable process to go through, even if you have no interest in finding a partnership, is to audit yourself. What knowledge or skill do you have that would be valuable to another business. It might be something directly related to your spa experience. Your knowledge of the body’s muscles could be useful to teach a stretch class to a prenatal group. Or it might be a more generic skill you have, like customer service. The local coffee shop owner might be having issues with this at his shop and so you could offer to train his people. Maybe with your knowledge of essential oils you could offer to do some consulting to the local hair salon so they can create a more inviting environment.
Remember, even though you might not consider yourself an expert on some of these areas, or any others, you probably still know more than the other business does. And that is something of value.
4. The Ask – What do you want from the other business
You’ll note that The Ask comes after The Give. I think this is significant too. It makes sure your coming from a position of offering something of value first, before you get anything in return.
5. Make Contact
Again, a pretty self-explanatory step. The tip offered here is to keep the initial contact short and to the point. Don’t go in with the first contact with a lengthy explanation of what have can offer, what you want, what your business is, what your skills are, etc. Whether by phone or email or in person, when you initially make contact, try to hit them with that magic question as soon as you can. Are you looking for more customers? The answer is almost always yes and of course it also sets the scene that you are giving, not receiving.
6. Do a Little Dance
This next step is all about getting into the details of understanding each other’s businesses. Get a feel for what are your potential partner’s pain points. Make sure he understands yours. How can you help each other. It’s a time for lots of questions. And there’s no need for paranoia about sharing company secrets, because you’re in non-competing businesses. You share the same customers, but you’re not competing for them.
7. Seal the Deal
Obviously, this last step is just formalizing some type of agreement between the two businesses. No need to get the lawyers involved. Just a simple 1-2 page document that clarifies the position of both sides. The tip here is include a trial period. Reassess the partnership after three months and then decide if it’s working for both parties. If not, try to tweak it till it does.
As with many of these types of guides or processes, when you sit back and read it, everything makes sense. Maybe it even seems obvious. But in all my years in the spa business and in all my travels I haven’t found too many spas (and what I mean by that is I can’t actually recall ANY!) actively using this strategy to build their business. The good news is you can start this process today. You don’t need any budget approval from anyone. You don’t need any artwork for your add campaign. You just need to start. Even if you don’t get past Step 1, you would’ve achieved something valuable for your business.
If you’ve already done something like this, I would love to hear from you. Let me know how you did you do it and how they worked out for you.
If you haven’t… off you go!