5 Simple Ways to Create Amazing Partnerships

By Kevin Raheja, Business Development and Affiliate Manager for LeadPages

I’m thrilled to be here at LeadPages, taking over as the new Business Development and Affiliate Manager.

We’re building an incredible team, so we can continue to design and develop great tools online to build your list and generate high quality leads.

My role at LeadPages is a bit unique. Instead of developing apps or software, I develop partnerships. Specifically the kind of partnerships that can bring in a couple hundred extra sales on any given day. That’s what I want to talk to you about today.

Throughout my career, I’ve been lucky enough to work with the best when it comes to forming partnerships. I’ve sat at the table and talked my way into deals with Fortune 500 companies. I’ve been on the phone as tech start-ups sealed the deals that made them household names.

I’ve seen some deals perfectly come together, some fall apart, and some that never got started in the first place. Along the way, I’ve discovered the best strategies for building the most successful relationships — no matter what business you’re in.

If you want to boost your sales for your business, a few strategic alliances with the right affiliate partners can help make that happen.

Here are five of the best ways I’ve found to build those relationships…

#1: Personalize your strategy.

Let me show you what I mean when I say “personalize your strategy.”

Years ago, I was trying to get a meeting with Coca-Cola. At the time, I had already drafted a long proposal, which naturally I thought was extremely interesting and definitely worth their time. But of course, it’s Coca-Cola. It’s an enormous company. So it was hard to get their attention.

Now I could have given up. But instead, I started researching the one person at Coca-Cola who I was trying to contact. Turns out, this Coca-Cola guy was a huge fan of the band, KISS. So I took the initiative and bought two KISS tickets for this random person I had never met.

About a month later, the KISS fan got back to me. Suddenly, he was enthusiastic about my proposal. From there, we started talking and we actually became good friends. We also formed a hugely successful business relationship that we both profited from for years.

That’s what I mean by “personalize your strategy.” When you have an affiliate who you want to partner with, take the initiative to learn something about that person. Find a way to identify with that potential partner that makes you stand out in a unique way.

It might be as extravagant as buying concert tickets. Or it might be as simple as phrasing your proposal in a way that would resonate with that person.

#2 Hone your communication skills.

The Harvard Business Review just released a study that proved once again how important communication is in business. As usual, the study cited “listening” as the most important trait to building successful business relationships.

Here’s what I say: Effective communication goes way beyond just listening.

Think of it this way. We only derive 7% of a message’s meaning from actual words. We get 38% of a message’s meaning from how it’s being said, and 55% from the speaker’s face.

So if you want to build relationships with potential affiliates, you need to practice communicating effectively so you can articulate exactly what you mean — and get the results you want.

#3 Be top of mind.

In other words, stay engaged with what’s happening with your partners, so they’ll stay engaged with you.

Let me give you an example. One of the best ways to start (or develop) a conversation with a potential partner is to send your partner informative content that they would be interested in.

I saw this happen just last year. At the time, a colleague of mine found out that his publishing partner was going through an exciting acquisition.

My colleague heard about the acquisition because he was already subscribed to Google Alerts, and receiving all the latest news about his client’s company. (Quick tip: Setting up Google Alerts is something you can easily do for any of your potential partners.)

As soon as he found out, my colleague emailed his contact at the publishing company to congratulate her on the acquisition. Her response: “I didn’t even know this happened yet, how did you know??”

Doing this accomplished two things. My colleague got to learn more about the company that he was working with, and he established himself as a resource for his contact at the publishing firm.

We also use this top of mind approach here at LeadPages.

If you haven’t noticed, we often give you access to free downloads and important split test data here on the blog. The reason? We want you to consider us as a resource for your business, and as the industry leader in lead generation and conversion.

You can do the same in your business. This is a very important way to create loyalty with your audience, and connect with your partners in a way that adds value.

#4: Make sure that all parties benefit from your partnership.

I’ve always liked to measure success in terms of retention.

If you have clients or customers who repeatedly want to work with you, then you are doing the right things. It means you have built-up a reputation for excellence. It also means that your customers benefit from your products and services as much as you benefit from your customers’ business.

It’s the same when you’re making a deal with a partner or affiliate. Your potential partnership should be a positive development for both of you.

If you don’t truly believe your partner or affiliate will equally benefit from a business transaction, rearrange the deal until it will or leave the table entirely.

#5: Keep your word.

This is perhaps the most important one.

Never put yourself into a situation where you’ll have to compromise your agreement. Unfortunately, I’ve heard of this happening far too many times. Trust me: It always ends badly.

Fulfilling your end of the agreement is essential to maintaining trust and integrity when you’re forming a partnership. Before you make a verbal or written agreement, make sure that you are able to fulfill your side of it.

Finally, be genuine. Never push something you don’t believe in just to make a sale or seal a deal. Instead, take time to consider and care about the outcome for all parties involved, including yourself. That’s how the best partnerships are formed.

Speaking of partners, I’m excited to get to know all of our affiliates here at LeadPages. If you happen to be an affiliate, I’ll do my best to reach out to you personally. But if you need anything in the meantime, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Kevin resizedAbout the Author: Kevin Raheja has worked on Strategic Partnerships and Business Development at Cox Media, the Star Tribune, Groupon and has consulted for many fortune 500 companies. He’s created partnerships with Coca-Cola, Uber, Target Corp, Whole Foods, Delta, Petco and others. He also sits on the advisory boards of several emerging startups.

If you’re already an affiliate of LeadPages or you’re interested in becoming an affiliate, you can contact Kevin at kevin@ave81.com. 

  • StefanSandin

    Thanks Kevin for sharing. What you say here is really good and actually not so hard if you put some effort in to it. But as you say, if you don’t do your homework, they will probably play with somebody else. (y)

    • Kevin Raheja

      Totally, and well put. Thanks for reading Stefan. If you need anything let me know. Have a great day!

  • JTActivemgmt

    Love to have an affiliate with Lead Pages as we develop a new aspect to our website – businesses to help you.

    • Kevin Raheja

      Hi @JTActivemgmt, email me @ kevin@ave81.com. I’d love to chat. Thanks for the response!

  • Guest

    Great advice Kevin, win – win & a focus on adding massive value is how we like to work with our co conspirrs….Hopefully we can affiliate with you too in 2014.

    • Kevin Raheja

      I’d love to discuss an affiliation! Thanks for reading.

  • JasonB4B

    Great points Kevin….win win or no deal and a focus on adding massive value is our motto at Bespoke4Business… we hope we can coconspire with you guys in 2014.

    • Kevin Raheja

      Jason, Let’s coconspire! You guys are doing cool things at Bespoke4Business. Have a beautiful day in Dorset.

  • Great post Kevin! My plan is to get academic institutions to wake up and smell the coffee and hopefully start using the latest marketing arsenal (hint hint) for their international students recruiting efforts… Will drop you a line as soon as Studdys is up and running. Meanwhile keep rocking:))) Sarah!

    • Kevin Raheja

      Oh man, that’s so cool, Sarah. Please keep me posted!

  • Nick Ruddle

    Thanks for the great advice Kevin, I’ve recently switched my squeeze page over to a LeadPages template and I hope it converts better. Now I need to now start building up quality strategic alliances as affiliates. Check out how great my new template looks…. http://www.business-profit-club.com

    Looking forward to hearing more from you in the future.
    All the best,

    • Kevin Raheja

      Hi Nick, that’s great that you switched to LeadPages. Nice squeeze page, too! You should also check out LeadBoxes. We just launched it last week. It allows you to grow your list on any site with a single html link.

      • Nick Ruddle

        Thanks Kevin, I have checked out LeadBoxes already and created my first one straight away yesterday, i just need to figure out where to put it. Great to connect with you! Looking forward to learning loads more from you.

        • Kevin Raheja

          That’s great, I’m glad you got to explore LeadBoxes!

  • Jay

    Hey Kevin. Thanks so much for this timely info. It just so happens that I was in a meeting yesterday with my Director of All Things Great and Wonderful and we were discussing this exact topic…how can we create more meaningful relationships with partners to help our business and the business of our potential partners grow. These 5 things are going on the top of the pile to discuss next week. Where can I go to learn more about you? Really glad LeadPages snagged you and I am looking forward to continuing to learn from you.

    • Kevin Raheja

      Hi Jay! I’m happy to be here. Awesome things are brewing at LeadPages 😉
      Get in touch with me anytime. Kevin@ave81.com. Happy to help!

  • Rob7968

    Fantastic information Kevin, we will be more than ready to affiliate with Lead Pages in the new year so that we can help our existing and new clients attract more leads and customers.

    • Kevin Raheja

      That’s really exciting to hear Rob. I look forward to working with you. Please let me know if you need anything, okay?

  • mildmanneredmillions

    Nice man! I will be in touch – always good to be connected with fellow connectors

    • Kevin Raheja

      Awesome, likewise my friend. Reach out anytime. Please. Have a great evening!

  • Brad DeGraw

    Kevin, you rock. Buying KISS tickets for someone who won’t return your calls is an awesome conversation starter. Way to be Ballsy and a Baller.

    • Kevin Raheja

      It worked, I guess 🙂
      Thanks Brad!

  • Brett Fogle

    Hey Kevin, enjoyed the post. Nice chatting with you last week, and hope you’re feeling better as I am. Keep up the good work!

    • Kevin Raheja

      Brett! Yeah, it was really great talking to you and hearing everything going on at Cydec. We’ll talk very soon. Have a great day!

  • Martin Glanert

    Lead is great stuff! it’s just arriving in Germany. I have supported companies like semrush or experiment.ly to make an entry into the German market and I would like to chat with you, what I can do to support you in this endavour (for example German speaking tutorials about new features, etc…).

    • Kevin Raheja

      Hi Martin! Send me an email at kevin@ave81.com. I think it would be something great to discuss. Thanks so much!

  • Creating relationships is all about digging a little deeper, and doing something 98% of us wouldn’t even consider like buying concert tickets for a person we don’t even know. Very inspirational article. Thanks Kevin!

    • Kevin Raheja

      Thanks so much, Rodney! Thanks for reading,

  • Hi Kevin – spot on article – some real gems in there 🙂

    Just to add to your points, one thing that I have found incredibly helpful – and satisfying – is to go the extra mile with things such as feedback and giving genuine praise to employees of companies who really deserve it…..not only does it make their day, it puts a smile on peoples faces at work, and makes people feel good….

    ……….and in addition, if you take the time to write a genuine piece of detailed feedback or a testimonial, it’s amazing how they often find their way up to the top. We all like a bit of positive feedback, and again, it really can open doors – people remember you for the right reasons, and it can be a great conversation starter…..

    Here’s a couple of quick instances:

    (1) I’d spent a fair bit of time researching a company a few months back, and on their website their was a ‘live chat’ pop-up – so I had a really interesting (and fun) bit of banter with the ‘support person’ – turned out it was actually the CEO, who was spending a day in the support team finding out what customers really thought of their products and services…..so after discussing his company, cars and sport, I now have his personal email address and we are still in touch…..

    (2) I’ve recently signed up for a great online tool, and in the first 24 hrs, was chatting A LOT with the support team…..I asked for the name of the person to send feedback to, duly sent it, and then the next day, needed tech support again – ended up speaking with the same guy from the previous day, who by this point had had a huge pat on the back from his manager – happy days. I actually apologised for bothering him again, to which he actually said “I wish all of our customers were like you”

    Anyway, of his own accord, he then went beyond the call of duty within his team, to get some of my work featured on their site, and bingo – everyone’s a winner

    so the point of this?

    well – you never know who you’re speaking with, so always be prepared to go the extra mile, and you’ll be amazed at how many doors can (and will) open for you.

    Not to mention that you’ll be making someones day.

    Keep up the great work Kevin 🙂

    • Kevin Raheja

      These are really good points. Everyone should read this comment! Thanks Ian!

  • Hi Kevin, great post and congrats on the new role at LeadPages. We have already had some interaction via email and i’m looking forward to working closely with you as an affiliate of LeadPages.

    • Kevin Raheja

      Hi Suraj, thank you so much. I’m also looking forward to working with you. Nice talking with you!

  • Sheila Galligan

    Congrat’s Kevin on your new position – your post is spot on and well written! Lead Pages has given me new energy to reach out to my 50+ affiliates and reestablish partnerships so we all can reach more people! Big launch in Feb for my Webinar Product! Let’s talk! Thanks!

    • Kevin Raheja

      Sheila! That’s so awesome. Let’s definitely talk! Thanks so much for reading and commenting.

  • Guest


    • Kevin Raheja

      Yep, works 🙂

  • Anand Agarwal

    Excellent post, got a couple of golden nuggets to apply in my business kevin, thanks a lot for sharing… would love to be your affiliate…

    • Kevin Raheja

      Hi Anand! Thanks for writing. Much appreciated. Let me know if you need anything. Have a great day.