Partnership means different things to different people in different situations. For some, it is simply a contract signed by both parties or “you give me money, I give you product or service … ‘Partner!’”. For us, it is about shared risk and shared reward, working together to achieve a common goal . We have learned some valuable lessons over the recent years about how a unique partner model should work and the secrets to maintaining successful business relationships.
Don’t be afraid to ask ‘why?’
Successful partnerships are a two-way street. Sure, we’ll configure the solution a certain way if you ask us to, but first we’re going to find out why it needs to be that way. If you don’t understand your client’s objectives and agree upon how to achieve them, what value are you really bringing to the relationship? Don’t be simply transactional, be conversational. When considering a partnership you should be asking yourself “Why us? Why together? And why for the customer?”.
Trust and inspire trust.
This may seem like an obvious one, however, you’ll be surprised how many partnerships are destroyed by lack of trust. In our roles, we need to work with vendors, partners and their clients – so we have a lot of stakeholders to keep happy. In order to do that, we need to get close to clients to find out what they need. Much like a personal relationship, jealousy and misunderstanding can stem from lack of trust, and you don’t want your partner flipping the switch because they think you are going to steal their clients. Talking to partners early is critical to manage expectations and clear away any misunderstandings. If you believe your partner will do the right thing by you, and the feeling is reciprocal, you’ll have a solid foundation for a partnership. Then, together you can conquer the world.
Miscommunication and/or misunderstanding go hand in hand with lack of trust as being key contributors to an ineffective partnership. It is important to ensure there is clarity regarding what each party is doing and what is expected. It’s no fun when you go to great lengths to deliver a stand-out service only to realise upon completion, it’s not what your partner wanted at all. Now they’re angry that you misunderstood the brief and you’re angry that they didn’t explain themselves clearly and both of you are fuming about the wasted time and resources. Both parties come from the same place – to deliver an outstanding outcome – and this must always be remembered. Listening and confirming what was heard (playing it back to the originator) ensures effective communication.
Partner noun |part-ner|
One of two or more people, businesses, etc., that work together or do business together.
“Together” is the most essential word in a partnership. Our aim is to provide a wealth of knowledge and expertise and we want to work with you to achieve your objectives. If a partnership is just transactional then it’s not a true partnership. Say a partner (client) calls you because they need a solution implemented but they don’t have the skills and need your expertise. This is not a partnership… this is a transaction.
Let’s say this partner comes along and says “I need to deliver a number of projects and I can’t do it on my own. Can we talk about how you could understand our requirements and help us across the portfolio”? We now have an opportunity to truly partner. So let’s start with asking why, building or leveraging our trust, sharing risk and rewards while making sure we communicate effectively. Now that is partnering.
Interested in partnering? Get in touch, we’re looking forward to hearing from you.