We’re going to take a step away from the nitty-gritty of affiliate programs today to talk about a different, but very related and important topic.
I was reading Google Groups today, in the biz. entrepreneurs group, and it really got me thinking about business connections, and how important it is to affiliate yourself with people, and programs, which will really benefit you.
However, the way to do this is not by telling everyone what you do in an oppressing and pushy tone. This may seem obvious, but some of the people in the biz. entrepreneurs group over at Google don’t seem to understand this.
Here’s a short list of today’s topics in that group:
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The way to do business, if you really want successful affiliations, a successful business, and a significant life, is not really to tell others what you can do for them, at least not initially. Ultimately, you want to get to a point where you can tell someone what you do and how you are doing it, and why you would like them to consider you.
But you first must adopt the proper philosophy. The proper philosophy revolves around a simple phrase. Want to hear the most powerful phrase in all of marketing, networking, and business?
“How can I help you?"
Now this may seem like common sense, but here’s an example of what I’m talking about.
It happens to me, at least once/week, where someone (Let’s call this someone “Jim" – just because it’s fun) will arrive at a conversation with me, either because “Jim" wants to sell me something, or because Jim wants me to sell something for him, and “Jim" asks me to join such-and-such program, or buy such-and-such product. “Jim" just assumes that I have a need for what he’s offering.
Anyone else experienced that?
The reasons “Jim" usually points out that I should listen to his pitch, are because I can make this much money, and have this much experience, and/or “Jim’s" product is so great, and “Jim’s" model is the best, and yada, yada, yada.
At that point, I generally feel like I’m in a Charlie Brown movie, listening to Charlie B’s mom. Y’know…wah wah wah wah, wah wah wah. (Watch the Charlie Brown Christmas special if you don’t know what I’m talking about. )
What this person is saying, may entirely be true. In fact, I’m quite certain that in most cases it is true. But the person on the other end of the email, phone call, or in-person exchange has failed to build a relationship with me, and this is a huge mistake.
This is a huge mistake for a couple of reasons.
Reason 1. People will give up on themselves before they will give up on a friend.
Reason 2. All things being equal, people will do business with a friend over doing business with a business acquaintance.
Reason 1 is illustrated through the fact that people will do things for a team that they never would have done working by themselves. It’s an amazing concept, and we can see it larger than life in the sports team that has the “dream season, " or the reality TV show “team" that comes together to accomplish more than they would have ever been able to alone.
A quick (and true) story:
Company 1: I sell products for company 1 through an affiliate program. I’m marketing a significant amount of their products via various web sites. Over the course of a year, I will market over $100,000 worth of their product. When I started promoting for them almost 2 years ago, they had an affiliate manager who I liked, and who I thought was on the same page as me. However, over time, the company has put three different people into his position, resulting in a couple of late payments to me. The original person is now back in that affiliate manager position, but when I talk with him on the phone, I feel like he’s annoyed to talk with me. This leaves me wondering about the stability of the company, even though I know that they’re financially solid and stable.
Company 2 is a competitor with Company 1. I learned about Company 2 approximately 6 months after starting work with Company 1. Company 2 pays more in commissions, but I thought that their affiliate program was more difficult to use, so I didn’t promote much for them. One day, however, the affiliate manager for that program called me, completely out of the blue. He asked me if we could take 15 minutes on the phone sometime. “I would like to find out how to make our program better for you, " he said. So we scheduled a time about a week out, and when we talked, one of the first things he asked me was “how can I help you make more money with our company?" We then talked for about a half an hour, and it turns out we both learned a lot from the conversation. Their program has changed a bit since then, to my favor, and I’ve started promoting much more heavily for Company 2. I haven’t moved away from marketing products for Company 1 entirely, but I’m definitely not as motivated about marketing their products, and I am doing a lot more marketing for Company 2, because I like talking with their affiliate manager. Why do I like talking with him? He is helping me. He genuinely wants to make their program the best it can be, and he has made me part of the process of improving it.
When you say the simple words, “how can I help you?" you are opening up an opportunity for someone to share what their needs are. If you actually have adopted a philosophy of servant leadership, you will understand that if you can serve others, then others will see you as a leader, and someone to look to for help, partnerships, and advice.
(Caveat: If your environment truly doesn’t allow you to serve others, then you need to find a new environment. Also, there are some people in the world9 or 10 of themwho will just take whatever you give, and never give much in return. This is okay, but you need to be aware of what you want to do with, and for, that type of person. )
Serving others will lead you to the people who can and will change your financial picture, which will change your ability to accomplish whatever you want to accomplish. Just get your philosophy in order.
One way to do this is to read good books (shutting off the TV is ALWAYS a good idea), and start each conversation by asking how you can best serve the person you are working with. Then, see what you can do to actually serve them. You will be amazed at what you’ll be able to accomplish, and how many people will want to help you…and it all starts with 6 simple words:
What can I do for you?
Jonathan Kraft specializes in Internet Affiliate Marketing. He is currently helping people generate incredible passive streams of income through http://www.usaaffiliateprograms.com