Tag Archives: outsourcing

Affiliates can be your Valued Sales Team

Affiliates can be your Valued Sales Team
By Talmar Anderson

On the rise with ecommerce and online products are the opportunities to grow your sales team. Or on the flip side, a way to increase your income through recommending people, brands and products for compensation. Do either of these options really sound like a bad idea for your business? This incentive creates questions and worry for both the entrepreneur considering this “cut” into their profits and the referral source. I do believe that this can work for a variety of industries so let’s talk a little bit about affiliations!

As a potential commissioned referral source, a common argument stems from the concern that you do not want to be perceived as solely incentivized by being paid to recommend something or someone.  That it could appear as self-serving as opposed to prioritizing the needs of your contact. I get it. I too walked the line for many years and turned down offers of compensation from great providers and vendors that I 100% believed in and to whom I continually referred. I wanted to be able to point to my referrals and say that I was only recommending them as a great solution for prospects.

After several years and establishing a reputation for referring the best possible referrals for each individual need, I realized that I was literally leaving money on the table.  Yep. I was going to refer those people anyway. Yes, I could genuinely and honestly look prospects in the eye to assure them that my expertise, education and experience led to any recommendation. Not the check book! I do have a few affiliates (from tools like Lead Pages or ConvertKit to trusted business owners that can offer a benefit to my clients and audience like The Lucky Bitch) that I recommend when it fits.

Now what if you are thinking of paying affiliates or commissions to other referral sources? I know, they SHOULD be referring to you because you are amazing and no one can solve your clients issues as well. However, sometimes the marketing campaign to be in front of your referral sources can get lost in your company’s outreach to new lead generation or current prospects.  It is true…there are only so many hours in a day.

By monetizing those referrals, you allow the source to be incentivized and rewarded for sales.  The first time that income comes back to them, your company WILL be top of mind.

What about doing the numbers to decide?  In our example, we are offering a 25% affiliate fee on a $100 product. Imagine you could average 10 sales a month of your $100 product through your own company. Boom! $1,000

Now imagine if one of your best strategic partners could get you in front of another 10 people but maybe only 3 bought through them.  $300 – $75 = $225 income for YOUR company.  This came off someone else’s marketing and sales efforts (AND expense!). Your referral source was already planning on being in front of this market.  They qualified the need for your solution and completed the sale for you! This effort exposed your company and services to a wider market and grew your revenue by 22% thus expanding your credibility AND cash flow!

Plus, it is TOTALLY FUN to cut a check to those referral sources with a big, fat THANK YOU written on it.  The referral source is excited because they just made another $75 off conversations they were going to be having anyway.

Could you operate profitably and scale your business by having a stronger pool of pre-qualified prospects? While this example is based off a client’s experience, consider that we developed a specific and strategic operational plan to support the intake, payment tracking and communications with these referral sources. For success, this is will require creating another operational layer. However, with the right affiliates you gain access to new markets and qualified sales.  This can be especially beneficial during new launches or product offerings.

It may not be right for every company but in the on-demand market of small businesses, sales forces are much smaller than the larger corporations had access to in the past.  Is it worth it to your company’s bottom line to find a way to reward those strategic partners that are already working on creating income themselves?  It is something to consider when looking for new ways to grow your revenues.

Now GO! Grow!

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If you are a business owner then…You ARE an HR manager too!

By Talmar Anderson
Originally published Sept. 5, 2013

With growth and success, hiring and employee management is one of the long processes that can get an owner stuck. This can show under many guises.  Taking a lot of time that may be replicated over and over with growing frustrations as the “right” person does not seem to work out.  Trying to understand how an employee got to the point of saying no on your behalf to a client’s request for more work.  Then there is the really scary one, an employee that misuses monies from the business.  YIKES!  It absolutely can happen to us.

You want to trust and lean on others because you would not consider doing less for another.  I understand, but we need to talk. Your business will be better served if you acknowledge that not everyone has YOUR company’s best interests top of mind.  With some oversight, we can mitigate risk.  I know it may be your least favorite part but managing your employees and vendors is on YOU, the business owner.

You can put in place a team that will help take a lot of the management off of your to do list but YOU will still need to meet with the managers consistently. You will need to ensure everyone is proceeding, not just in line with the company’s vision, but in line with YOUR best interests. It must be an on-going conversation.

Once hired, there is training but you truly cannot just “let them go”.  I tell clients that a new hire taking over tasks that were previously accomplished by them can only reasonably be expected to alleviate 60 – 80% of the time from that reassignment in the employee’s first year.  Someone’s motivations are never fully transparent. However,  employees that regularly report WITH an opportunity to ask questions for clarification or direction will constantly be reminded it is not about what is easiest or better for them but what is better for the company (company = you).

Does it have to be you?  If you really can’t stand the idea of consistently checking in with each employee or worrying about the details, then you need a team to lean on.  You can bring on a partner who handles the administration and operations.  You might be giving up a piece of the pie but the work definitely will land squarely in their lap and you will KNOW their best interests align with yours. You can hire a consultant as a part time COO (operations) (full disclosure: this is the largest growing segment of Talmar It Up).  Consultants can come in to set up or clean up procedures, help you hire and train and then handle the regular oversight once it is running (monthly or quarterly).

These two options are great for the business owners with highly specialized expertise or a high demand for being involved in the deliverable.   The continued need for a contact that can focus workflow and ensure that the business’s operational issues are being “handled” can drain these individuals.  Focusing these needs on someone else can save time, energy and really relieve some stress.  However, partner or vendor, the business owner still needs to meet with each annually, at minimum, for a clear discussion that includes expectations, successes, challenges AND finances.

If you are a “do it yourself”er be sure to schedule and KEEP management appointments with each of your hires.  It will mean less time with the deliverables side of your business, but hopefully you are hiring for that too! These meetings should be to ensure that the quality that is important to your brand and clients is being honored and delivered upon. By the way, you will also find a direct correlation to your profitability. Certainly you are building a team that you trust and lean on in the good and the bad.  Please just remember, at the end of the day their incentive is to build a life for themselves that meets their needs first, your company’s needs second.  Always.

Need more time??..Stop doing what you don’t like!

By Talmar Anderson

Originally published Sept. 20, 2012

As a business owner, your time may be your own but it sure does not always feel like it!  It is the position that really can pull at every last minute of the day and steal from any personal time you set aside. As I speak with other business owners, I hear that the “to do” list is long and growing.  Trying to get it all done can consume us to the point of blurring what we are trying to accomplish and certainly can fog over the why of what we are doing.

As an owner, your main objective needs to be managing your business.  If you are too busy networking or entering your contacts information, you need to consider if this was part of the plan.  If you are drowning in client deliverables so that you do not have time to meet other potential business partners, you need to consider how your business will survive when this project is finished. If your head hurts even trying to think about your social media marketing plan, then you need to consider why you are trying to do it yourself!  Could you do it?  Of course. But should you? The most successful business owners know that they don’t have to know it all! So figure out what you spend 5-10 hours a week doing that someone, anyone else, can be doing for you.  Start with what you like least and the items that are always on your list. 

Being the boss is absolutely a big reason that business owners take that step out on their own.  So commit to the expense, start managing people (employees or outsourced vendors) and find that you will gain 10 hours AND lose the stress of not getting it all done.