So you want to partner with (company)

September 26, 2011

Having the incredible privilege of working with an amazing brand, I get a lot of people asking about partnerships of one kind or another. If you are considering approaching any company about a partnership, sales pitch, joint venture, etc, then I hope this will help you.


First, keep in mind that managers are very busy. Time to evaluate partnerships are not built into their schedules. And unless you are coming from a very strong reference, then they usually will not even have 15 minutes to meet and talk.  So how can you prepare yourself to have the greatest chance of success?


1. Do your homework
Make sure to research both the brand and the person you will contact. Show that you have taken the time to educate yourself through what is currently available online, so that you use any conversation time for highly relevant questions and proposals.


2. Know what you want
Don’t ask to brainstorm or find ways to collaborate.  As leaders, we do not have time to look at your business or product and then figure out how it connects with ours. That is not mission critical for us. That’s your job to figure it out, and relate it back to our business needs.


3. Be passionate
If you’re not thrilled about what you have to offer, why should we be?  My rule for considering any proposal or project is – If it’s not a “Hell yeah!” then it’s a no. Time and resources are too precious to spend on anything less.


Remember, there may be several steps before getting to a yes (in fact it’s better to start small). Consider what those might be in advance. Prepare for success.  But if it’s a no, then you may want to ask for feedback as it can be incredibly helpful for future proposals.