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An Almost Free Way to Generate New Business - A Creative Twist on the Joint Venture

Jun 29, 2008
It's extremely difficult for businesses to find customers and generate new leads.

So, it's vital to explore some under-used options that can provide access to large lists of new prospective customers. A well thought out joint venture can do just that - for almost zero cost.

Almost any marketer already knows how a joint venture basically works. However, very few people apply it properly to their business. If you do it creatively, you will build a strong list of new leads.

Isn't that the goal?

As soon as you have used your joint venture to generate your warm list of prospective clients, you can market to them every way you know how.

Specifically speaking, my office works in the mortgage industry. For those of us in this industry, the term joint venture immediately conjures images of working with real estat agents.

But, remember, the joint venture must be applied creatively. Although marketing to and with agents can be an excellent source of income, the creative JV ideas go way beyond that.

My office learned this principle out of necessity. We sell owner builder construction loans nationwide. When you work in the owner builder niche (owner builder loans are simply mortgages for people who want to build without hiring a licensed general contractor), it becomes tougher to joint venture with any one real estate office.

Therefore, we decided to sell our owner builder product through joint ventures with businesses that have nothing to do with real estate or mortgages.

It doesn't matter what industry you work in. The concept will be the same for you. We sell owner builder financing. You might sell leather shoes. The concepts won't change.

The first step is to take a look around your town and see who has customers. At first, just compile a list of any businesses with a potentially large customer list.

Step two will be to narrow that list and apply your niche to it. Our niche is owner builder construction loans - your niche can be anything you like. Just make sure you work within a niche in whatever industry you are in. I'll explain.

Let's say you work in the mortgage industry, and you decide your niche is the Move Up buyer market. Your customers are those people who own their first home and are now looking to upgrade to a larger home to accommodate their needs for a larger family or their desires for a bit more luxury.

Now, you have made a list of as many local businesses as possible. Hopefully, that list includes restaurants, carpet cleaners, pet stores, and virtually any other retail business you can think of.

Approach the owners of these businesses with your proposition, remembering that you should offer something of value to the business owner, as well as get something of value in return.

My favorite idea is working with smart restaurant owners. They must be smart enough to maintain a mailing list of their customers. And, the really smart ones keep information, such as birthdays and anniversaries - just like you should be doing.

When you narrow your list down to the businesses that you want to approach, you must present your idea to the owner. The concept is pretty simple. You will ask the business owner to include an endorsement of your business (along with a coupon or offer) in his next mailing. And, you will return the favor for him in your next mail piece.

Using the restaurant example, the restaurant owner may send a monthly newsletter to his patrons. In that newsletter is a separately inserted letter from the owner saying how wonderful you are and what a great offer is enclosed. This letter will need to vary depending on how well you know the owner, but in any case, you should write it for him.

Don't be shy. Pump yourself up as a reputable, reliable expert at helping families move into a new, larger home (or whatever your proposition is for your specific niche). For example, in my office's case, we make a point to offer owner builder construction financing that requires no general contractor, no site supervisor, and no down payment. In your case, simply make sure you have a niche product and a unique selling proposition that makes you stand out from your competitors.

The included offer should be something that gets the recipient to respond to you, thereby adding their name to your pool of leads.

On the flip side, when a restaurant gives a free meal gift certificate to someone for their birthday, they can count on the fact that they will bring other, paying, customers with them. In fact, many people celebrate their birthday with a group. In the end, the restaurant makes plenty of money on that "free" meal, plus they earn the chance to win over a new regular customer.

For this reason, you should be able to get a free certificate to give to your customers on their birthday. At the very least, you should be able to negotiate a very steep discount for a certificate (pay about 35-45 cents on the dollar, which is about the cost of the actual food sold in the restaurant, if it is a fairly nice place - which it should be if you are doing this campaign!!). If the restaurant owner is not willing to give you the certificate or a steep discount, you are likely not dealing with a smart restaurant owner. Remember, you want to find smart business owners with whom to JV.

If you don't have a birthday list (which you need to get), enclose a certificate or coupon with your monthly newsletter.

You should be able to find one or more restaurants in your town that serve good food, have a nice atmosphere, and have an owner who understands the power of this type of joint venture concept.

Do your homework, be creative and you will end up developing some good JV relationships.
About the Author
Chris Esposito provides owner-builder construction financing nationwide through his Owner Builder 101 program. Visit www.OwnerBuilder101.com to get all the information you need to be a successful owner-builder, saving tens of thousands on your next home. Or call Owner Builder 101 at (877) 876-3688.
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